Braley At Odds With Vilsack, Northey & Ernst On Free Trade
KEY TAKEAWAY: “Braley’s ‘no’ votes put him at odds with former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who as Obama’s secretary of agriculture lobbied Congress for approval of the trade deals.”
GOP Targets Braley’s ‘No’ Votes On Trade
October 27, 2014
Iowa Republicans, in one of the tightest Senate races in the country, are trying to capitalize on Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley’s record of voting against trade agreements to help hand their candidate, Joni Ernst, the victory.
Braley, whose state is heavily dependent on farm exports, voted against free-trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama in 2011, even after President Barack Obama’s administration renegotiated several provisions to round up more Democratic support.
“The South Korean trade deal was huge,” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey told POLITICO in an interview. “Everyone knew it was a clear, clear win for agriculture, and it would have been a terrible not to have it. For him to vote against that I just think is a major red flag.”
The Obama administration hailed the South Korean free-trade agreement as the most commercially significant deal in 20 years and a model for future agreements.
“If you can’t vote for that, are you ever going to vote for a trade agreement?” Northey said. “You can’t call yourself pro-trade, for an Iowan, and vote against that.”