This story was edited at 7:01 p.m.
Senator Chuck Grassley says some of the trade protectionism included in the economic stimulus package that senators have begun debating would be damaging to the economy.
Grassley, a Republican, gave a lengthy speech on the senate floor critiquing the economic stimulus package being pushed by President Obama and fellow Democrats in congress. Grassley said a stimulus is necessary given the country’s economic situation, but Grassley expressed concern about the size of the package. He said the federal government “cannot casually deficit-spend and ask America’s taxpayers to clean up the fiscal mess with high taxes down the road.”
Grassley also said there is “little doubt” that protectionist barriers signed into law by President Herbert Hoover “made the Great Depression worse.” Those laws placed high tariffs on imported goods. While Grassley did not specifically mention the “buy American” requirements in the stimulus package, critics have labeled those proposals as protectionism.
Grassley’s staff has not returned a phone call this evening seeking clarification of Grassley’s objections to the protectionism he lambasted in the bill. Read all of what Grassley had to say here.
The European Union had threatened to retaliate if congress went ahead with provisions in the stimulus plan which restricted spending to American goods and services.
During a television interview, President Obama said the U.S. can’t send a “protectinist message” to the world. “…I think it would be a mistake…at a time when worldwide trade is declining, for us to start sending a message that somehow we’re just looking after ourselves and not concerned with world trade.”