NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on H.R. 2146, the vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). This legislation would help facilitate and expedite agreements between the United States and foreign trading partners.
TPA or “fast track” is an important legislative procedure used since the 1970s and last enacted into law in 2002, to prepare the way for significant trade deals that have engendered greater prosperity and economic liberty. TPA provides the most evenly paved path possible for adopting new pacts that will help grow the economy, create jobs, foster stronger relationships with foreign nations, and provide opportunities for Americans of all economic backgrounds.
According to the U.S. Trade Representative, exports accounted for 13.5 percent of the U.S. economy and supported 11.3 million jobs in 2013. At the same time, the benefits of imports are often overlooked or downplayed, despite the fact that they help lower the cost of goods and services while boosting employment. A 2013 study by Trade Partnerships Worldwide explains, “U.S. imports supported more than 16 million net, direct and indirect American jobs, representing 9.3 percent of total U.S. employment.” Additional trade pacts will only increase the benefits to our nation that come from free and open commerce.
The TPA legislation strikes a reasonable balance between executive and legislative authority while improving transparency measures. The bill preserves the essential role of Congressional oversight by setting out 150 defined objectives for the Administration to achieve during negotiations and creating a process by which Members of Congress can directly interact with the U.S. Trade Representative. In addition, the Senate and House committees of jurisdiction are provided with shut-off mechanisms to withdraw TPA should concerns regarding those objectives arise. And any trade agreement negotiated under TPA will be made public for at least 60 days before taking effect. Together, these provisions provide common-sense safeguards for taxpayers.
While NTU has some concerns about the possible passage of related legislation that would expand Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), the vast economic prosperity that would come from enactment of TPA outweighs the negatives associated with TAA. On net, enactment of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 would be a tremendous boon for America’s taxpayers and help preserve our global competitiveness.
Roll call votes on H.R. 2146 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700