As the U.S. trade deficit hits a record $800 billion a year and manufacturing jobs continue to flow overseas, AFL-CIO policy director Thea Lee discusses free trade's impact on U.S. jobs.
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PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour Economics Correspondent:
The president was visiting a Caterpillar plant in Illinois recently, trying to drum up support for accelerating free trade by having Congress grant him so-called fast-track authority to negotiate new tariff reductions.
GEORGE W. BUSH:
It's a topic of hot debate. The temptation is to say, "Well, trade may not be worth it. Let's isolate ourselves. Let's protect ourselves."
The president is talking about a growing tide of opposition from the Democratic Congress and new members, like Betty Sutton of Ohio, whose district is hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs.
THEA LEE, AFL-CIO:
This is not hypothetical any more, 200,000 jobs lost since NAFTA.
Urging Sutton to crack free trade down was Thea Lee, policy director of the AFL-CIO.
We represent American workers, and that's always going to be our top concern, is looking after their jobs, their wages, their benefits.