NTU Vote Alert: Senate Trade Promotion Authority and Amendments

NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on adoption of the substitute amendment (#1221) to H.R. 1314, the legislative vehicle for the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015,” and final passage. This legislation would enact Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which 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 pave the way for significant trade deals that have fostered greater prosperity and economic liberty.

The TPA legislation before the Senate 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.            

NTU continues to urge Senators to vote as follows on amendments:

  • “NO” on Portman-Stabenow Amendment #1221: This amendment would require the Administration to negotiate for enforceable rules against currency manipulation in trade agreements. Doing so could trigger tariffs on foreign goods - hurting relationships with trading partners and nullifying the many benefits of free trade to consumers and U.S. businesses, such as low-priced goods. Roll call votes on this amendment will be significantly weighted and NTU will consider “NO” to be the pro-taxpayer position.

  • YES” on Flake Amendment #1247: This amendment would strike Title 2 of amendment #1221, “Extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance.” Intended to aid those workers laid off as a result of foreign competition through retraining, relocation, and other benefits, recent program evaluations have found Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to be ineffective or even harmful to recipients. Roll call votes on this amendment will be significantly weighted and NTU will consider “YES” to be the pro-taxpayer position.

  • YES” on McCain Amendment #1226: This amendment would repeal the Department of Agriculture’s duplicative and wasteful catfish inspection program. An unnecessary barrier to free trade, the catfish program has been targeted as wasteful by the Government Accountability Office no fewer than eight times.

Roll call votes on final passage of H.R. 1314 will be significantly weighted in NTU's annual Rating of Congress and a "YES" vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.