FACT CHECK: Sherrod Brown has led the fight to stand up to China and protect Ohio jobs from unfair foreign trade.

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FACT CHECK: Sherrod Brown has led the fight to stand up to China and protect Ohio jobs from unfair foreign trade.

JOSH CLAIMS: Sherrod Brown is responsible for Ohio jobs lost to China.

THE TRUTH: Sherrod Brown opposed a free trade pact with China, had led the fight to enforce trade laws that punish China when it cheats, and passed a bipartisan jobs bill to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation. 

1. Josh Mandel’s false claim was rated “Pants on Fire” by a nonpartisan fact-check organization.  [Politifact, 03/20/12]

2. Sherrod Brown voted against a free trade deal with China, and is one out of only eight current members of the U.S. Senate who opposed the pact. [CQ; House Vote 228, 5/24/00]

3. Sherrod Brown passed a bill to punish China when it cheats trade laws by manipulating it currency – the biggest bipartisan jobs bill that passed the Senate last year. [Vote 159, 10/11/11; S. 1619]

4. Ohio’s other Senator, Rob Portman (R-OH) supported Sherrod Brown’s bipartisan China trade bill, Josh Mandel said he would not support the bill.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/26/12]

Mandel’s Claim That Sen. Brown Is Responsible For Jobs Moving To China “Turned Out To Be Ridiculous,” And Was Rated “Pants On Fire!”  In March 2012, Politifact wrote “This is about Josh Mandel.  But with your indulgence, we must tell you about Sherrod Brown first … Trade is Brown’s signature issue. He has voted against trade deal after trade deal — with South Korea, Panama, Colombia, Central America, Mexico and Canada and, most importantly here, China. So anyone who follows Brown had to appreciate a recent political jab by Brown’s Republican opponent in this year’s Senate election, namely, Mandel. Mandel, currently Ohio’s state treasurer, said in a news release on March 1, when he announced he was actively campaigning for the Senate:  ‘Make no mistake — Sherrod Brown is one of the main D.C. politicians responsible for Ohio jobs moving to China.’  Had Mandel just co-opted Brown’s best-known issue?  This would make for quite an interception and, in the game of politics, it deserved kudos. But we wondered: Can Mandel back up his claim?”  Politifact concluded, “It was bold. It was audacious. But put under a microscope, it turned out to be ridiculous, which is a requirement for heating up the Truth-O-Meter. Pants on Fire!” [Politifact, 03/20/12]

Mandel Indicated He Would Not Support Sen. Brown’s Bill To Crack Down On Chinese Currency Manipulation.  In August 2012, The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “Mandel also shared his thoughts on foreign trade. He said he believes China manipulates its currency and that Democrats led by Obama have not done enough to stop the practice, which accusers say weakens American manufacturers’ ability to compete.  Mandel indicated that he would not have supported a stalled bill to clarify the right to seek punitive duties if a country like China manipulated its currency.  ‘We must be vigilant in taking them on and making sure they play by the rules. At the same time, my approach would be a diplomatic approach, not a legislative approach.’”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/26/12]

Brown Voted Against Permanent Normal Trade Relations With China.  In May 2000, Senator Brown voted against Passage of the bill that would make normal trade relations with the People’s Republic of China permanent. The bill contains a measure that would protect U.S. businesses and workers from Chinese import surges. The bill includes a provision that would establish a commission to monitor human rights, labor standards and religious freedom in China. The administration would have to report annually on China’s compliance with trade agreements and express the sense of Congress that Taiwan should be admitted to the World Trade Organization.  The measure would authorize $99 million for Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America to expand broadcasts to China and neighboring countries. [CQ; House Vote 228, 5/24/00]

  • Senator Brown Was 1 Of Only 8 Current U.S. Senators Who Voted Against Permanent Normal Trade Relations With China.  Senator Brown is one of only eight current U.S. Senators who voted against Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China as members of either the U.S. Senate or U.S. House in 2000.  [CQ; Senate Vote 251, 9/19/00, CQ; House Vote 228 5/24/00]
  • Brown Voted For China Currency Manipulation Bill Which Passed Senate And That He Authored.  In October 2011, Senator Brown voted for passage of the bill that would allow sanctions if the Treasury Department determined that a trading partner’s currency is “misaligned” based on a set of economic indicators. It would establish new reporting requirements for Treasury to identify misaligned currencies in two different categories, differentiating currencies that a foreign government has intentionally manipulated from those that change because of market forces. [Vote 159, 10/11/11; S. 1619]
  • Sen. Brown “Demonstrated Great Skill” In Moving China Currency Bill Through The Senate.  In October 2011, The Columbus Dispatch reported “Give credit to Sen. Sherrod Brown. He has demonstrated great skill in moving a bill through the Senate that would punish China unless its government adjusts its currency to make U.S. exports more competitive.”  [Columbus Dispatch, 10/10/11]