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Democrats prepared to vote down Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal

Congressional Democrats say there are enough votes on both sides of the aisle to strike down a Trans-Pacific Partnership if it doesn't include key measures to protect U.S. jobs., including protections against currency manipulation.

The Obama administration is negotiating with 11 countries on the TPP, a new free-trade agreement:  Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee says the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other similar deals did the opposite of what they promised.  Instead of bringing jobs, they took them.

Kildee says the agreements are done with "countries that don't have the same labor standards, don't have the same environmental standards, and continue to manipulate their currency to favor their manufacturers and disfavor ours."

Kildee says his home town of Flint used to have more than 70,000 people working in the auto industry.  Now, there are fewer than 10,000.

Currency manipulation refers to policies than can keep a country's currency artificially low versus the U.S. dollar.  That practice makes the country's labor and products cheaper.

Democrats say there are enough votes among both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House to doom a fast track authority for the TPP, as well as the actual agreement. 

And they say they will nurture that coalition to make sure it survives the arrival of new members of Congress.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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