Pete Kasperowicz, The Hill
Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) on Thursday morning criticized President Obama for quietly signing three free-trade agreements (FTAs) into law last Friday, saying the lack of any public ceremony surrounding the signings is evidence that Obama realizes Americans don't support these deals.
"My colleagues and the American people might have missed it, because that's what the president wanted," Michaud said on the House floor. "The American people don't support more flawed trade agreements, so the President signed them into law quietly.
"The White House issued no press releases, no statements, no photos were taken, no signing pens were publicly handed out," he added.
Michaud is a noted critic of the free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which Congress approved earlier this month and Obama signed into law on Friday. Obama supported the FTAs, and his decision not to hold a public signing ceremony was widely seen as a way to downplay an issue that Democrats have traditionally opposed, in large part because of their party's push for tougher labor and environmental standards in the agreements.
Michaud went on to argue that if the FTAs will create jobs as Obama and other supporters argue, he should have had a big, public ceremony.
"If these agreements are job creators the president promised us that they would be, then why wouldn't he have a public ceremony highlighting the signing of the FTAs?" he asked. "It's because these FTAs aren't going to create American jobs."
"They might create jobs in Korea and China, but they won't create them here at home," Michaud concluded. "If I were the president, I'd want to keep these agreements quiet too."
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