Great Political Divide Kills 'Import' Bill
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 The controversial Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act went down in defeat without debate on the U.S. Senate floor last week.

While senators voted 53-45 in favor of opening floor debate, 60 "yes" votes were required to do so. The cloture defeat effectively killed the bill aimed at stemming the the loss of manufacturing jobs overseas.

Republicans united to squash the vote, denying the Democrats from gaining a political victory to tout in the waning weeks before the November general elections.

The legislation was widely criticized by U.S. trading partners. For example, Canada’s Gary Doer, ambassador to the United States said the measure note only would violate NAFTA but “will have a disproportionally negative impact on intertwined U.S.-Canada supply chains and on jobs in both our countries.” 

The legislation would prevent companies without a U.S. agent to import products. It stems from problems associated with recalls of Chinese drywall that reportedly sickened many U.S. citizens. In addition, it included a package of tax incentives for hiring inside the United States and penalties for shuttering a U.S. plant in favor of opening one overseas.

In addition to foreign governements, many U.S. business and manufacturing groups came out against the legislation, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Foreign Trade Council.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader, said, "This is about as pure a political exercise as you can get and in my view it's an insult to the millions of Americans who want us to focus on jobs."

I couldn't agree more with McConnell. Not only was the election timing of this legislation suspect, it wreaks of protectionism to a degree that threatens the very notion of free and fair trade.

Feel free to tell me why I'm right or why I'm wrong.

Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.

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