Aug 3, 2016 8:40 AM

First on NH1 News: Guinta opposes TPP trade deal

NH1 News Political Director

MANCHESTER – Congressman Frank Guinta Wednesday announced his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In a video to constituents, the Republican U.S. representative in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District said the much talked about multilateral free trade deal “will kill good jobs.”

Guinta, who’s facing a tough primary challenge from Bedford businessman Rich Ashooh, also touted his embrace of congressional term limits and a pay freeze for federal lawmakers

The trade deal involving 12 Pacific Rim countries, best known by its acronym TPP, has been a much discussed issue in the race for the White House. GOP nominee Donald Trump has railed against the proposed deal, as did Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, as U.S. secretary of state, initiated negotiations for TPP. But after repeated questions during the primaries, Clinton announced her opposition to the deal, which is still supported by President Barack Obama.

“While I believe in free trade, it must be fair trade,” Guinta said. “You deserve to know exactly where your representative stands.”

TPP may come up for a vote in Congress during the lame-duck session following the November elections. Former Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who Guinta defeated in the 2014 election and who’s running for her old seat, also opposes TPP.

Ashooh supports free trade, but specifically on TPP he's said "in theory we shouldn’t need government intervention in the form of massive, multilateral trade deals like the TPP just so people around the world can buy things from each other. However we live in the real world, not some theoretical world. International trade agreements are a practical reality in the twenty-first century, so we need to work to make sure these deals reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade, promote growth, and protect our national security."

Guinta's announcement is a switch from last year, when he signed a letter declaring his support to give the White House fast-track authority to negotiate a deal on TPP.

“While Frank Guinta deceives voters in whatever way he thinks will save his campaign, I have always been steadfast in my opposition to both TPA and TPP," Shea-Porter said in a statement.

In the video, Guinta also pledged that “I will vote against this fall’s omnibus spending bill, a violation of open government and giveaways to special interests.”

On term limits, the congressman said “I believe in term limits and will abide by that principal in the House of Representatives if Granite Starters honor me with the privilege.”

At the end of the video Guinta urged constituents to go to “Voters Vision” at TeamGuinta.Com, which he said “will help me to identify your concerns quickly. Guinta pledged to introduce a series of proposals based on those submissions, followed by legislation in the next Congress, if he’s re-elected.

Guinta’s trying to bounce from a campaign finance controversy that dominated headlines for much of the spring and summer of 2015. The Federal Election Commission ruled that a $355,000 loan from an account in his parents’ name that Guinta used to help boost his first election to Congress in 2010 was illegal.

Guinta used the money in the 2010 cycle to win a hard fought multi-candidate GOP primary, and then to defeat Shea-Porter in the general election. The FEC declared the donation excessive and illegal, fining Guinta $15,000 and ordering him to repay the entire donation.

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