[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 79 (Thursday, May 21, 2015)]
[Pages S3221-S3223]

                              TRADE POLICY

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I listened to some of the debate earlier 
this afternoon--in between the effort to make progress toward getting a 
fair array of amendments for both sides--about this whole question of 
secrecy surrounding trade policy. A number of Senators were discussing 
it, and so I just wanted to take a minute to be very clear that I think 
they have a very valid point with respect to the secrecy that has long 
accompanied these trade discussions. I would like to discuss how I made 
it my paramount reform to make sure we would have a new era of 
transparency, openness, and accountability in the discussion about 
making trade policy.
  I have always felt that if you believe deeply in international 
trade--the way I do--and you want more of it, why in the world would 
you be for all this secrecy? That just makes Americans more cynical 
about the whole topic and makes them think that in Washington, DC, 
there is something to hide.
  I note my friend and partner in all this, Chairman Hatch, is on the 
floor, and he will recall when we began our discussions--and they went 
on really for close to 7 months in our effort to forge a bipartisan 
package--that I wanted to take a very fresh approach with respect to 
transparency, and I wanted us to be able to say that for the first time 
in the history of debating these policies, we would no longer have the 
country and elected officials in the dark with respect to really what 
is at issue in these discussions.
  So here is a short assessment of what really has changed. Of course, 
right now we are working on the rules for future trade agreements. We 
are working on the trade promotion act that sets out the rules for 
future agreements. Obviously, the first one will involve the Trans-
Pacific Partnership--what is known as TPP--and there are a variety of 
others that are under discussion, particularly one with Europe.
  If the Congress--the Senate and the other body--adopts this package 
that Chairman Hatch and I, in conjunction with Chairman Ryan, have put 
together over these many months, I think we will have achieved our goal 
of making sure everybody in the Congress and everybody in the United 
States who chooses to can have the information they need about trade 

[[Page S3222]]

before a single vote is cast on the floor of the Senate or on the floor 
of the other body.
  Here is how the reform would work: First, it is required by law--in 
other words, this isn't something that is discretionary--that these 
trade agreements, starting with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, would be 
made public 60 days before the President of the United States signs 
that agreement. That means if you want to come to a townhall meeting in 
Colorado, held by the distinguished Presiding Officer of the Senate--
even before the President signs it--a citizen in Colorado can come with 
the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement--the entire agreement--in their 
hands and ask questions of the Presiding Officer of the Senate or any 
one of our colleagues in the Senate and the House.
  After that 60-day period of sunshine and exposure, the President can 
sign it, and then there would be close to 2 additional months--2 
additional months--before the voting on the floor of the Senate and the 
House begins.
  So when I heard my colleagues--Senators whom I respect greatly--talk 
earlier today about secrecy and that secrecy was no good and why 
couldn't this be changed and why couldn't that be changed, it made me 
want to come to the floor--and I will do an overview of all of the 
progressive reforms that have been made to this package; reforms I 
thought were important for a new era of what I call trade done right--
to make sure we corrected the suggestion that somehow everybody is 
going to be in the dark before the Congress and the country saw voting 
begin in the Senate and the House.
  Chairman Hatch is here, and he remembers all of our negotiations on 
this point. It is really going to mean--with the 60-day requirement for 
sunlight before the President signs the agreement and then probably 2 
more months after it has been signed, before we start voting--that a 
citizen can come to a townhall meeting in Colorado, Utah or any part of 
the country and have that Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in their 
hands in order to be able to ask questions about it.
  I certainly think that puts our trade negotiators and everybody else 
kind of on their toes because they know the American people and the 
Congress are going to have that document. That is going to start with 
the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
  Now, Chairman Hatch and I made a number of other changes. In the 
future, it would be possible for the discussion of negotiations--
summaries of the negotiations--to be made public so people would also 
have more information about the process as it was going forward. We 
have lifted a number of the restrictions in terms of Members having 
access to the materials and staff having access to the materials.
  Because the chairman is here, I want to express my thanks to him 
especially on this point. We spent a lot of time on a whole host of 
issues: How you could put the brakes on a flawed agreement. I am glad 
the chairman can smile about our discussions on that point today, but 
suffice it to say they were pretty spirited. We had discussions on a 
host of these topics. I am especially pleased we made these very 
substantial changes on the issue of sunlight, transparency, openness, 
and accountability because I think my colleagues--who discussed it on 
the floor and many others who have been concerned about secrecy in the 
past with respect to these agreements--when they get a chance to 
actually see the details that are in the reforms Chairman Hatch, 
Chairman Ryan, and I put together, are going to see we have made some 
very dramatic changes.
  Now, I think some specific changes here are areas that I would like 
to outline. I am going to go to the question of major changes in 
workers' rights and environmental protections because I know that a 
number of my colleagues, when they talked earlier, were concerned about 
these issues as well.
  Suffice it to say, on workers' rights and environmental protections, 
if we go back to the 1990s, back to the NAFTA era, these vital 
priorities basically were just shunted to the side. It would be almost 
inflationary to say they got short shrift. They basically got no 
shrift. They just got shunted to the side. They were in unenforceable 
side deals, which meant that the United States in effect had to take it 
on blind faith that our partners would live up to their commitments. It 
was my view that many of my colleagues, particularly on the Democratic 
side of the aisle, were spot-on in saying that wasn't good enough.
  This trade package will say in clear terms that the United States is 
done allowing labor and environmental protections to be pushed aside 
and disregarded. Our partners will be required to adopt and maintain 
core international labor standards. Core international labor standards 
are going to be required of our trading partners. They will have to 
adopt them, and they will have to maintain them. That is not something 
that is to the side and is unenforceable. That is real. It has got 
  Also, our partners would be required to adopt what are really common 
multilateral environmental agreements, and these would be backed by the 
threat of trade sanctions. So these are major changes that certainly 
contribute to what I think makes the most progressive approach with 
respect to trade policy in the future.
  And for the first time, the President is directed under this piece of 
legislation to make sure our trading partners adopt and maintain key 
laws. That is why, for example, I mentioned labor standards. And here 
is what those are: freedom of association, the effective recognition of 
the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of 
forced or compulsory labor, the effective abolition of child labor and 
a prohibition on the worst forms of child labor, and the elimination of 
discrimination with respect to employment and occupation.
  Now, those are the keys with respect to the labor side.
  Here are the key protections on the environmental side, which I have 
again highlighted here at the outset. The bedrock protections here are 
that there has to be recognition to ensure that there is compliance 
with the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species Act, 
the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Depletes the Ozone Layer, the 
Protocol on Prevention of Pollution from Ships, the Convention on 
Wetlands, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine 
Resources, the Convention on Whaling, and the Tropical Tuna Convention.
  This, again, is not stuck in a side deal but is fully enforceable, 
and not just rearranging inadequate policies of the past, sort of 
rearranging sinking deck chairs. This is better than anything that has 
existed before--better than the North American Free Trade Agreement, 
better than the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
  With these changes, our country is saying that we will no longer take 
it on blind faith that other countries are going to adopt stronger 
standards for protecting workers and the environment. This is the first 
time the United States is setting the standard and demanding that 
trading partners hit that mark. That is very real progress.
  I will close with just this point. Many colleagues who have been 
skeptical about trade agreements always raise the issue about whether 
trade is somehow going to be a race to the bottom. What I have just 
described is a concrete way to have a new force for raising standards 
up and getting the standards up, because my colleagues are right that 
they have been inadequate in the past.
  So whether you are for this bill or not, I hope my colleagues will 
take a look at the new sunshine provisions, because the American people 
are not going to be in the dark about what is in a trade agreement 
before anybody votes on that agreement here in the Senate and the 
  I hope my colleagues will especially look at the new provisions with 
respect to labor rights and environmental rights, because the day is 
over when those considerations are going to be shunted to the side. 
They are going to be front and center, and they are going to have 
teeth. And instead of a race to the bottom that my colleagues have been 
concerned about, the United States will be where it always is, where we 
are at our best--forcing standards up.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I wish to personally thank the 

[[Page S3223]]

Senator from Oregon for the work he has done on this bill. It couldn't 
have been done without him. A number of other people on his side have 
been very contributory and helpful.
  We are not there yet, but we are going to work at it. I just have to 
say how much I have enjoyed working with him on the floor so far. I 
just hope everything will go smoothly so we can get this bill up and 
out and get the President what he needs to conclude these negotiations 
and also especially for our Trade Representative. Mr. Froman has done a 
very good job, as far as I can see. We will have to see what the TPP is 
like, but we will all have a chance to look at it for a considerable 
period of time before we have to vote on anything regarding that.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.