WASHINGTON – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) on Wednesday signaled a readiness to fight against President Obama’s push for a free trade deal with Asian countries in the new year.
“Let’s get ready for what’s coming,” Warren said as she broached the topic of trade in a speech to the AFL-CIO at Gallaudet University Wednesday morning.
“We believe in trade policies and tax codes that will strengthen our economy, that will raise our standard of living, that will create American jobs,” Warren said, “because we will never give up on these three words: made in America.”
In December, Warren sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman expressing concern about the ongoing talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the U.S. and 11 other nations mostly in the Americas and southeast Asia.
Warren’s December letter raised questions about three specific TPP provisions which she said “could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises.”
Warren did not express concern in her letter that TPP would result in American jobs going overseas, but her comment Wednesday was a signal that she may level this charge against the trade deal talks as well.
Earlier in her remarks, Warren said that previous trade deals in the U.S. have allowed foreign companies subsidized by their own governments to compete with American companies “while good American jobs got shipped overseas.”
In her 25-minute speech, Warren also argued that even though a number of economic indicators are moving in the positive direction, the middle class in America is still in “deep trouble.”
A deeper look at economic statistics, she said, shows “the pounding that working people are taking.”
She spent several minutes assailing the idea of former President Ronald Reagan’s “trickle-down economics,” and also criticized her own party for buying into the notion that economic growth comes from smaller government.
“Too many Democrats have talked about the evils of big government and called for deregulation. It all sounded good but what it was really about was tying the hands of regulators,” Warren said, and letting corporations and Wall Street do whatever they want.
Warren enters 2015 as the undisputed leader of the Democratic party’s left wing, and she has yet to definitively rule out a run for president to challenge the party’s most likely nominee, former first lady and secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
After Warren left the stage, the emcee of the day long AFL-CIO event, MaryBe McMillan, of the union’s North Carolina chapter, told the crowd that America is “hungry” for Warren’s message.