LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The U.S. Senate campaign of Alison Lundergan Grimes is seizing upon what they regard as an opening from Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign regarding his record on dealing with China's unfair trade practices with the United States.
The Democrat's campaign says a new McConnell ad which showcases his legislation which penalized China for illegally subsidizing some goods is dishonest because it tries to give a mistaken impression that McConnell has stood up to China.
In a new web video released to WHAS11 Friday morning, the Grimes campaign is keying in on a 1992 speech McConnell gave at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, in which he advocated economic development in China as a vehicle to encourage social and political reforms in that country. A news release from the Grimes campaign says a new McConnell ad disguises "his real record of opposing closing the trade deficit and cracking down on currency manipulation."
On Wednesday, McConnell, the Senate's Republican Leader, released a campaign commercial touting his sponsorship of legislation, signed into law by President Barack Obama, that allowed the U.S. Government to counteract China's illegal subsidies of its exports by allowing the United States to impose fees on imports from non-market economies.
The CEO of Cardinal Aluminum credits McConnell's bill with saving 400 jobs at the Louisville company.
But because McConnell attempted to block a 2011 Senate bill which aimed to sanction China for artificially depressing the value of its currency, the Grimes campaign suggests the six-term senator does not care about saving American jobs.
The debate is common among free-trade Republicans and Democrats backed by labor unions.
Senate Republicans who voted against the 2011 currency manipulation bill complained the amendment process for that legislation was flawed and expressed concern it would spark a trade war with China, which had been making progress on appropriately valuing its currency.
"Clearly, Mitch McConnell does not think that the growing trade deficit with China is a problem," the Grimes release reads, "Alison could not disagree more. Between 2001 and 2011, the U.S. trade deficit with China alone displaced or eliminated 35,700 Kentucky jobs. During the same period, this trade deficit cost the U.S. 2.1 million manufacturing jobs, more than half of all manufacturing jobs lost."
While Grimes is calling on McConnell to pass the "Bring Jobs Home Act" that would give incentives to companies which return jobs to the United States from overseas, McConnell is trying to attach a pro-coal amendment to the bill which would prevent new carbon emissions rules from going into effect until the administration proves they would not raise energy prices or cause job losses.