(Daily Signal) -- When I was first elected to Congress in 1998, South Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District was a reliably protectionist vote. In the words of former Sen. Fritz Hollings, the entire delegation viewed free trade as “the commercial equivalent of unilateral disarmament.”
As a free-market conservative, free trade is in my DNA. It is a trait shared by many of my former colleagues in Congress today, and they are correct that perfection is usually unattainable in the legislative process. That is why I voted in favor of granting President Bush trade promotion authority (TPA) in 2002 even though that bill contained what we now know is an egregiously ineffective welfare program—Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).
But there are key differences between that bill and the one currently on life support in the House.
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