Speeches

Mr. President,

As the deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union fast approaches, there is an enormous opportunity before us – an opportunity for true free trade with the U.K.

Such an agreement would provide tremendous economic and trade benefits to both our nations, and would strengthen and preserve our special relationship.

And so as this deadline approaches, the United States should stand ready and willing to negotiate a free trade agreement with Britain – which is the purpose of the resolution before us today.

This resolution simply declares it the sense of the Senate that:

  • the U.S. has and should have a close and mutually beneficial trade partnership with the U.K., without interruption; and
  • That the President, with the support of Congress, should lay the groundwork for a future trade agreement with them.

But some of my colleagues have raised objections to it.

Some have objected that this resolution did not go through the Finance Committee. First, the vast majority of resolutions expressing a sense of the Senate do not normally go through the formal committee process. And second, a straightforward assertion of friendship, support, and economic partnership with one of our oldest and closest allies should not be controversial.

Others have claimed the point of this measure is to “lambast” the EU. But this entirely misses the point – which is, again, simply to preserve a unique and important alliance, and to promote America’s economic interests.

And others have said that by encouraging a free trade agreement with Britain, we would be “picking sides” or somehow “affirming” Brexit. But this resolution says nothing about whether Brexit should or should not happen. That is the decision of the British people.

But it is up to us to decide whether or not to stand with Britain – the nation that has been one of our greatest partners not only in trade, but also in the fight for freedom, peace, and prosperity.

And we should stand with them, and strengthen this special partnership, by supporting this resolution today.