WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to vote on trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) today sent Republicans in the House a “Dear Colleague” letter urging them to unite behind it. In the letter, he cites the conservative principles underlying free trade, TPA’s benefits to the U.S. economy and national security, and the unprecedented accountability included in the bill. The full text of the letter is below.
The Senate voted to establish trade promotion authority, and now the bill comes to the House. But this vote is about more than this bill; it’s about what kind of party—and what kind of country—we want to be, and I urge you to vote yes.
As conservatives, we have always believed in free trade—because free trade is essential to free enterprise. Opening markets to American products promotes the rule of law, levels the playing field for American job creators, and lower taxes (tariffs) on the American people. These principles may divide our Democratic colleagues, but they unite us. We should embrace them.
We know that these ideas translate into a healthier economy. More trade means more jobs—and better-paying jobs. One in five American jobs is tied to trade, and they pay 18 percent more, on average. Ninety five percent of the world’s consumers live beyond our borders. So if we want to create more jobs in America, we need to make more things over here and sell them over there.
We also know trade is critical to a robust foreign policy and our national security. Stronger economic ties lead to stronger securityties. More market share means more influence. And in Asia, our allies and partners are desperate for a counter to China. It’s a question of American leadership. Are we going to write the rules of the global economy—or is China?
The world is watching this vote. After the past six years, too many countries think the United States is in retreat. Our friends in Asia want to side with our system of free enterprise, but they need to know they can count on us before placing their bets. A vote for TPA would be a strong signal that we will lead. It would show that President Obama’s failings are his own, not America’s.
I’m proud that so many of you are ready to support TPA and all that it represents. I know some say you don’t trust the president. That’s exactly why we need this TPA. It provides unprecedented accountability and transparency. It empowers you, not him. And it gives us our best opportunity to advance fair, effective trade agreements over the next six years.
While the other side bickers, this should be a unifying moment for us. Whatever your concern about TPA, I urge you to put it in perspective of what passage could mean: a definitive statement of our principles, a healthier economy, an enhanced national security, and a clear demonstration that America is on the rise.
I believe this conference is still capable of getting big things done for the country. This is one of them. Let’s get it done.
Member of Congress