Dem senator: Reagan enforced trade laws better than Obama

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) criticized the president’s handling of trade policy, saying “the last president to really enforce trade law well was Ronald Reagan. President Obama has done it marginally well.”

Brown’s criticisms come as the Senate considers a bill that would punish China for alleged currency manipulation.

Brown took particular issue with the administration’s failure to get tough with China, characterizing the administration’s handling of China as “start and stop.”

The Ohio senator said Obama would “stand up to the Chinese and back down,” a criticism he also laid on former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. 

The Senate voted 62 to 38 to end debate on the bill Thursday ensuring an up-or-down vote on the measure.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has criticized the legislation as “dangerous” and while the White House has yet to formally oppose the bill, Obama made clear during a Thursday press conference his concerns that many provisions would violate U.S. WTO obligations.