by Curtis Ellis
In the same way President Bill Clinton gave away hundreds of thousands of jobs to Mexico and Vice President Joe Biden helped send millions more to China, the Democrats vying for their party’s 2020 nomination now plan to outsource and destroy yet another American industry.
I refer to the so-called “progressive” Democrats’ opposition to the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA).
USMCA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the disastrous quarter-century-old trade deal signed by President Clinton and widely loathed for destroying hundreds of thousands of well-paying American jobs.
President Trump promised to scrap NAFTA and replace it with a better deal. The USMCA fulfills that promise.
Whether out of spite, ignorance, or malice, some Democrats in the House of Representatives want to block the new trade deal.
No surprise there, as a certain species of Democrat sooner would subject their mother and firstborn to agonizing death than vote for anything proposed by President Trump.
But what’s shocking, even by our nothing-about-them-can-shock-us-anymore standard, is the half-baked, lame-brained, lily-livered, bald-faced hypocritical lie the Democrats have trotted out to justify their opposition.
Stick with me while I explain.
A provision in the USMCA provides 10 years of patent protection for a class of new cutting-edge drugs developed by the American biotechnology industry. These life-saving cures, known as “biologics,” are derived from living organisms and their production involves the use of a living system to manufacture the medications.
Biologics are particularly expensive to research, develop, and manufacture. Not every potential drug proves effective in clinical trials, and that puts an added cost burden on the medications that are successful and can come to market.
Biotech companies need to recoup their research-and-development (and other) costs, and they do that by having the exclusive right, for a limited period of time, to sell the product they invent, their intellectual property.
It’s called a patent or copyright, and it’s as American as apple pie. The Framers established the American patent system in Article 1 of the Constitution “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” by giving authors and inventors “the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
Now, Democrats say they oppose the USMCA because they claim its patent protection for biotech drugs will deny patients “access to medicine.”
This is just the latest iteration of that old-time favorite “push granny off the cliff” scare tactic.
How do we know the Democrats aren’t serious? Because the Democrats told us so.
Fact is, these biotech drugs already have special protection under an existing U.S. law. And Democrats voted for it—70 times.
The law is the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Let that sink in: Obamacare, the signature legislative achievement Democrats will defend to their last dying breath (until they replace it with “Medicare for All,” naturally), provides special protection for biologic drugs.
The Democrats’ hypocrisy becomes even more brazen when you consider this detail: Obamacare—which Democrats support—gives biotech 12 years of patent protection; USMCA—which (some) Democrats oppose—dials that back to 10 years.
So the Democrats like intellectual property protection in Obamacare, but oppose it when President Trump gets a better deal for American workers in the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
The Democrats have done us the favor of exposing just how hypocritical their colleagues are today.
In a 2011 letter to President Obama signed by 51 congressional Democrats—including Representative Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the current chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Jay Inslee, now Washington governor and recent 2020 presidential hopeful—hailed patent protection for biologic drugs as “the single most significant provision in the Affordable Care Act to lower the cost of drugs in our country” and “a remarkable achievement for patients and payers, reducing the cost of healthcare by $6 billion.”
Get it? When President Obama does it, it lowers the cost of prescription drugs by $6 billion and helps patients. When President Trump does it, “People will die!”
Their letter notes that the biotech industry is “essential to expanding high-paying jobs . . . and curing not just treating some of our most deadly and costly diseases.”
The Democrats recognized that incentives for innovation are essential or else “Biotechnology companies will move overseas where other regulatory environments, like the European Union, recognize the importance of fostering innovation.” (Emphasis in the original.)
Indeed, biotech is one of the industries China has targeted for global dominance in its “Made in China 2025” plan, and Beijing is using the promise of patent protection to lure biotech companies to invest there.
Democrats like to say they’re against outsourcing American jobs overseas but that is exactly what they would do. They’ve done it before.
In 1994, President Clinton jammed NAFTA through Congress and sent well-paying American jobs south of the border. After NAFTA, the auto industry decamped from Michigan to Mexico.
Six years later, Clinton and Joe Biden, then the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, rewarded communist China with most favored nation trade status despite that brutal regime’s human rights violations. That gave corporate America the green light to move electronics, appliances, furniture, and every other type of factory from the U.S. to China, destroying millions more American jobs in the process.
If Democrats have their way and block the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, you can add biotech to the list of America’s crown jewels Democrats will have given away through their globalist trade policies.
It’s time for the Democrats to stop playing political games and put the American people first.
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Curtis Ellis is a senior policy advisor with America First Policies. He was also a senior policy advisor with the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign in 2016.