“TPA has a long and honorable history of conservative support,” writes Iain Murray at National Review. And that support is only growing, as conservatives across the country are throwing their weight behind the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act. Just last week, Americans for Tax Reform and 19 other conservative groups signed a letter in support of TPA.
“TPA is a necessary step to get Congress moving on a long-stalled trade agenda,” the letter said. “Without it, there is little hope that this Congress will make any progress on advancing free trade, a conservative public policy goal which all our organizations support.”
The American Conservative Union, Citizens for Limited Taxation, Americans for Job Security, the National Taxpayers Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute—all voiced their support for expanding American trade.
Another prominent conservative backing TPA is economist Greg Mankiw. In the New York Times, Mankiw, the former head of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, points out that economists from both parties have pledged their support of TPA.
“Economists are famous for disagreeing with one another, and indeed, seminars in economics departments are known for their vociferous debate,” Mankiw writes. “But economists reach near unanimity on some topics, including international trade.”
Meanwhile, at National Review, Matthew Continetti makes the national-security case for expanding American trade, particularly through the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
[T]he parties to this agreement are our allies, and most are democracies. A trade deal of this size is more than an economic arrangement; it’s a political arrangement with global consequences. America’s allies are worried about our listlessness, drift, ambivalence; the way Obama draws red lines but doesn’t enforce them; the eagerness with which he solicits rogue regimes. Approving TPP would boost their confidence in U.S. leadership and the liberal world order.
The editors at Investor’s Business Daily echo his argument:
[TPP] also would reinforce the American presence on the Pacific Rim through economic strengthening, offsetting at least to some extent President Obama’s deep naval defense cuts.
But the main thing is, for every party involved, it would contribute to decades of prosperity and economic growth, as study after study on the impact of free trade agreements has found.
In short, conservatives are supporting TPA for two reasons: Expanding American trade will create more opportunity in our country and increase our security in the world.