Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Sanders: Netanyahu has cultivated 'racist nationalism' Tensions mount among Democrats over US-Israel policy MORE (D-Md.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe 'frills' of Biden's infrastructure plan are real needs Senate Democrats offer bill to scrap tax break for investment managers Wyden: Funding infrastructure with gas tax hike a 'big mistake' MORE (D-Ohio) said the United States should hold Guatemala accountable for its labor law violations.

“International trade is good for America, but it must be based on international standards that protect workers, both at home and with our trading partners,” Cardin said on Tuesday. “Guatemala’s workers are suffering because their country is not upholding its own laws. Trade must not reduce us all to the lowest common-denominator.”


The senators’ comments came after U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks US trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report MORE announced that he would resume working a case against Guatemala for violating labor laws that were part of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

“It’s critical that the U.S. holds Guatemala accountable on its trade commitments and this action is an important first step,” Brown said. “For too long, Guatemala has failed to uphold and enforce its labor laws — endangering workers and misleading businesses and trade partners.”

The senators praised Froman’s announcement, saying the litigation will provide justice for Guatemalan workers.

“This moment is long in coming,” Wyden said. “Guatemala has failed to enforce its labor laws again and again, and its workers continue to suffer as a result. Our trading partners cannot turn a blind eye to their trade obligations, including those that are in place to protect workers.” 

Froman made the announcement last week, saying it was partially needed to deter the flood of child immigrants from Guatemala being detained along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We remain hopeful that Guatemala can succeed in producing concrete improvements for workers on the ground, which would send a positive signal to the world that would help attract investment, expand economic activity, and promote inclusive growth," Froman said. "This is also critical to demonstrating to the Guatemalan people that there are opportunities for their children in staying and working at home rather than embarking on a dangerous journey of migration."

— This article was updated at 5 p.m.