Brady, Neal, Reichert, and Pascrell Urge Senate to Consider USTR Nominees

February 14, 2018 — Press Releases   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Ranking Member Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Members of the Ways and Means Committee urged Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to bring to the Senate floor for consideration as soon as possible the nominations for senior positions at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In a letter, the lawmakers expressed the importance of having these key senior officials in place to ensure Congressional prerogatives under the Constitution with respect to the trade agenda.

“Congress has authorized the President to conduct trade negotiations consistent with Congressional negotiating objectives and to enforce those agreements as well as U.S. trade laws, in close consultation with Congress,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter“For this partnership to work smoothly and to maintain Congressional prerogatives, it is essential that the United States Trade Representative be fully staffed at the most senior levels.”

The lawmakers also wrote, “It is our expectation that having these key officials in place will create a better environment for consultation with Congress, especially with the designation of one of these officials as the agency’s Chief Transparency Officer, as USTR carries out its dual mission of seeking ambitious trade agreements that benefit all Americans and holding our trading partners accountable.”

 

Full text of the letter below:

 

February 14, 2018

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

The Honorable Charles Schumer

Minority Leader

United States Senate

 

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer,

As you know, article 1 section 8 of the Constitution vests Congress with the authority to “lay and collect . . . duties” and to “regulate commerce with foreign nations.” Through statute, Congress has authorized the President to conduct trade negotiations consistent with Congressional negotiating objectives and to enforce those agreements as well as U.S. trade laws, in close consultation with Congress. For this partnership to work smoothly and to maintain Congressional prerogatives, it is essential that the United States Trade Representative be fully staffed at the most senior levels.

To that end, we write to urge you to bring to the Senate floor for consideration as soon as possible the nominations for senior positions at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It is our expectation that having these key officials in place will create a better environment for consultation with Congress, especially with the designation of one of these officials as the agency’s Chief Transparency Officer, as USTR carries out its dual mission of seeking ambitious trade agreements that benefit all Americans and holding our trading partners accountable.