FORT PAYNE — Ten years after his vote for a trade deal that many blame with hastening the demise of the sock industry in Fort Payne, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt voted Friday against giving the president a “fast track” for negotiations on a trade deal with Pacific Rim nations.
“I am for jobs, American jobs — right here in America,” Aderholt, R-Haleyville, said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“Exports generally equal jobs unless, of course, we are exporting our jobs. The manufacturing base in America — be it steel or socks or widgets — has suffered over the previous agreements and I am not convinced what President Obama will come up with will be much different.”
Aderholt was a key vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2005. Four years ago, he didn’t go along with President Barack Obama on the Korean Free Trade Agreement.
“When CAFTA happened, there were some promises from the (Bush) administration that didn’t come through,” an Aderholt spokeswoman said in 2011.
Aderholt has said former President George W. Bush’s administration promised a 10-year tariff phase-out and safeguards to protect the domestic textile industry as much as possible.
That tariff safeguard was instead for just six months. Aderholt has said he pushed the previous administration to enact a three-year safeguard on Chinese socks.
Aderholt, through a local representative Friday, declined to discuss his vote further, or his change of heart.
The vote Friday created strange political theater in Washington, as House Democrats were Obama’s chief rivals on the trade agreement.
“We want a better deal for America’s workers,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in The New York Times.