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Bipartisan Support for Trade Promotion Authority

January 13, 2014

Last week, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), along with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 to renew trade promotion authority (TPA).  Trade issues are generally viewed as economic issues – not partisan issues.  For example, recent trade agreements have received large bipartisan support, with an average of over 50 Democrats joining Republicans on these job-creating bills.  The comments below from recent editorials, trade leaders and elected officials show there is wide support for promoting TPA that will give the United States the ability to unlock trade agreements that will boost job growth and expand our economic opportunities.  

Washington Post Editorial: “Fortunately, though, a bipartisan group in Congress is pressing ahead with at least one measure that could help the U.S. economy grow and create employment: legislation to strengthen President Obama’s hand in negotiations for expanded free trade with Europe and the Pacific Rim.”

In a statement released by Members of the New Democrat Coalition: “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live beyond America’s borders.  As New Democrats, we support a robust trade strategy that will open and expand these markets and empower American innovators, businesses, and farmers to sell their products overseas, creating good paying jobs here at home.  The International Trade Administration estimates that 10 million jobs are directly tied to exporting goods and services with millions of more indirect jobs.  Trade Promotion Authority will help the Administration conclude important agreements that will open markets and create jobs.”

Robert Zoellick, former United States Trade Representative: “The starting point will be Congress’s consideration of Trade Promotion Authority, which enables the president to negotiate agreements subject to an up-or-down vote by Congress. Through TPA, Congress sets goals, procedures for working with the executive branch, and controls the details of the enabling legislation. The Obama [A]dministration has been slow to press for negotiating authority.  Fortunately, Sens. Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch, the Democratic chairman and ranking Republican on trade in the Senate, respectively, and Rep. Dave Camp, Republican chairman in the House, introduced their bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority bill last Thursday.”

Chicago Tribune Editorial: “Congress and the president share constitutional authority over trade and international agreements. TPA empowers Congress to establish negotiating objectives, and enhances its ability to set priorities. The U.S. is legally bound to a trade agreement only if Congress votes to approve it. TPA, which has been essential to reaching trade deals since the 1930s, has proven to be fully consistent with the Constitution and supportive of U.S. sovereignty.”