***CORRECTION*** Sen. Richard Shelby is Porker of the Month for August ‘03 | Citizens Against Government Waste

***CORRECTION*** Sen. Richard Shelby is Porker of the Month for August ‘03

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:  Sean Rushton/Mark Carpenter
August 8, 2003(202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) — Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) its August Porker of the Month for socking it to the taxpayers by delaying a popular trade bill.  Instead of supporting free trade, Sen. Shelby is promoting pork.  He has put a hold on S. 671, the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act that would amend the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule by temporarily modifying duties on certain foreign goods.  To minimize competition from Caribbean countries that, he claims, could cost his state up to 10,000 jobs, he wants to add a provision eliminating duty-free benefits for imported knit-to-shape socks.

Passed by the House in mid-March, S. 671 has support from a broad range of interest groups, in addition to 66 senators who signed a letter in June requesting that Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) expedite the bill’s consideration.  S. 671 is a relatively non-controversial bill that would reduce or suspend duties on more than 300 products, ranging from certain textile machinery, combed cashmere and camel hair yarn, to particular refracting and reflecting telescopes, and acrylic fiber tow.  The bill would grant normal trade relations to Serbia and Montenegro and also contains a brief provision to refund duties paid on certain articles imported into the U.S. and then exported into Caribbean countries.  The Senate Finance Committee said the resolution would “enable U.S. chemical manufacturers to reduce costs, making the chemicals and downstream product industries more competitive without jeopardizing any domestic manufacturer.”

But, because Sen. Shelby thinks Caribbean companies who sew up the toes of socks made in the U.S. and then sell them back to this country will take business away from his state, he is preventing the Senate from voting on S. 671.  Sen. Shelby’s controversial hold on the bill is in toe with his past voting history.  He voted for the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), enacted as part of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, which provided Caribbean countries with free access to U.S. markets for specific textile and apparel exports because it excluded socks.  He did not support the 2002 Trade Act because it did not contain similar language protecting the sock industry from Caribbean competition.  While Sen. Shelby argues that the recent trade bill will lead to unfair foreign competition, he fails to mention the adverse impact that tariffs and subsidies impose on taxpayers, who are forced to foot the bill.

By using the power of his office to block S. 671, Sen. Shelby is putting aside the opportunity to create thousands of jobs nationwide in favor of his own parochial interests.  Reinstating tariffs on selected products like socks would reverse the positive effects of the 2002 Trade Act, discourage Caribbean trade with the U.S., as well as overlook the detrimental effects of duties on U.S. consumers, for whom a lack of competition means higher prices.

For kicking taxpayers with the agony of de-feet, CAGW names Sen. Richard Shelby August Porker of the Month.

*** A previous version of this release incorrectly stated that the 2000 CBTPA, which Sen. Shelby supported, provided Caribbean countries with free access to U.S. markets for specific textile and apparel exports, including socks.  Socks, however, were excluded.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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