Lehigh Valley

Senator Toomey talks jobs, trade

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Since announcing his campaign for president, Donald Trump has railed against what he calls bad trade deals, blaming them for American job losses. Trump's stance has shifted the way many Republicans talk about the issue.

With possible trade legislation looming, 69 News spoke with Senator Pat Toomey at his office in Allentown.

When asked if he worries about the anti-trade rhetoric coming from some in the GOP, Toomey was blunt.

"Yes. The short answer is yes," he said. "There are some voices within the administration that I think are completely wrong in the way they look at and think about trade."

To be fair, he didn't mention the president by name.

That said, Toomey argues hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania jobs depend on trade.

"Ninety-five percent of the world's population lives somewhere other than America," he said. "They're customers. They want to buy our stuff. We make the best stuff in the world. I don't want to be in a position where they won't let us sell our stuff because we're refusing to buy theirs."

He acknowledges, while a net plus, trade can lead to job losses.

"I've supported trade adjustment assistance which is a program to help retrain workers if they find themselves in those circumstances. Because that's a real problem for that family," he said.

Toomey also discussed the controversial border adjustment tax, which some want in a Republican tax plan. It would effectively tax companies that import, and exempt companies that export.

Supporters say it would create a demand for American goods, while the resulting strong dollar would mitigate any negative impact on importers. But Toomey is skeptical.

"I get the theory. It's a plausible theory. But it's an unproven theory," Toomey said. "I think something as big and dramatic that has that much potential for dislocations is something we ought to be really, really careful about.

Time will tell if the tax ends up in a GOP plan.

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