Hinchey Aims For Changes In Foreign Trade Deals

Michael Novinson, Times Herald-Record ULSTER — U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey advocated for a muscular federal government and stronger trade policies Wednesday to spur economic development. "I want to make sure the phrase 'Made in America' describes our future rather than our past," said Hinchey following a tour of FALA Technologies, a semiconductor and nanotechnology engineer. Hinchey, D-Hurley, called once again for renegotiating trade deals to allow for more congressional oversight and ensure that environmental, labor and human rights standards are being met in the other countries. He opposes both the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement and Bush-era Central American Free Trade Agreement. Hinchey also called for imposing tariffs on China until it stops manipulating its currency, the yuan, to remain artificially low. He said the economy improved under a Democrat-dominated legislature in 2009 and 2010, but that Republicans regaining control of the House of Representatives had led to obstructionism. "They don't seem to have any sense of what needs to be done," Hinchey said. "They're sliding the middle-class down, driving them down." Hinchey also criticized Republicans for attempting to reduce math and science education funding. "That's absolutely ridiculous." He, however, stopped short of criticizing a Democratic-backed statewide property tax cap that would cause most districts to cut money for education programs. "It's hard for me to come to any sound conclusions with what the state is doing," Hinchey said. He also was unsure of how to break the stalemate that has prevented the passage of legislation to address economic woes. The transportation stimulus was lauded for creating construction jobs and enabling Route 17 to be converted into an interstate. Hinchey thinks proactive behavior by the government would aid the lower and middle classes. "We need to get unemployment down to 2 or 3 percent," he said. Read original post here.