Johnson stays quiet on TPP trade deal

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson


Sen. Ron Johnson was mum on whether he supports the newest trade deal that his opponent, former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, said would kill American jobs.

"I'm doing the hard work of actually going through, section by section, based on the constituents it's going to (affect)," Johnson told reporters Monday at a campaign stop here. "I'm going to reserve judgement until I actually have a vote on it."

Johnson was in town to introduce a list ofmanufacturing leaders supportive of his campaign, including staff from TEAM Industries Inc. in Kaukauna.

"Obviously, I've got a manufacturing background," Johnson told reporters after his tour of the Kaukauna facility. "I understand how manufacturing is the backbone, in many respects, of the Wisconsin economy, providing great paying jobs."

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the most recent trade deal negotiated by President Obama that could impact American manufacturing, among other industries. Congress is expected to vote on the deal this fall, which would increase trade with 11 other countries bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Feingold has repeatedly said he would not vote for deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, deals that he argues encourage manufacturers to hire workers overseas.

Johnson said he would be "happy to have President (Donald) Trump negotiate a better deal," criticizing Obama for his negotiating skills in the Iranian nuclear deal.

Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, has made trade and outsourced jobs central tenets of his campaign, advocating that trade deals like the North American Free Trade Deal (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership hurt American workers through more jobs being created overseas.

Johnson is six points behind Feingold among registered voters, according to the latest Marquette Law School polls.

Johnson shrugged off the polls Monday, saying the campaign truly began after the Aug. 9 primary and that people are only now starting to pay attention to the race.