The Columbus Dispatch: On trade, Sherrod Brown in line with Trump,’ Renacci ‘Walking A Delicate Line’

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The Columbus Dispatch: On trade, Sherrod Brown in line with Trump,’ Renacci ‘Walking A Delicate Line’

It’s no secret that Senator Sherrod Brown has spent his career standing up for working Ohioans while Congressman Jim Renacci has sided again and again with big business and his wealthy donors. A new Columbus Dispatch report today makes the contrast clearer than ever between Sherrod’s steadfast leadership and Renacci’s mealy-mouthed evasions on one of the issues that matters most to Ohioans: fair trade deals that keep good jobs in our state.

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The Columbus Dispatch: On trade, Sherrod Brown in line with Trump
Jessica Wehrman – March 26, 2018

Key Points:

  • Brown’s record during his 11-plus years in the Senate and his 14 years before that in the House is one of skepticism toward trade deals. He once wrote a book called “Myths of Free Trade.” As a House member in 1993, he voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • Renacci, meanwhile, has voted for trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama as a congressman. He twice voted to give then-President Barack Obama trade promotion authority in 2015 — the first step in the United States’ entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with Pacific Rim countries that was nixed by Trump.
  • Differences between Brown and Renacci seemed particularly acute on March 1, when Trump announced his plan to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum over the objections of many in his party. Renacci, who is often quick to offer a full-throated endorsement of Trump, suddenly seemed cautious.
  • Jennifer Duffy of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said the similarities between Brown and Trump on trade reflect a broader populism that appeals to Ohio voters. “I think it’s part of Brown’s secret sauce, to tell you the truth,” she said. “He doesn’t forget those voters that really care about that stuff.”
  • Brown said he has been consistent on the issue. One of his first actions when Trump was elected in 2016 was to write to him suggesting that they work together on trade.
  • “I’ll consistently fight for Ohio workers,” Brown said. “I’ve been consistent and always will be, from opposing NAFTA under a Democratic president to supporting a Republican president’s renegotiation of it.”