Tuesday, February 19, 2013

U.S. House Ways & Means to Look at Restoring Trade Promotion Authority

I predicted in my January 4 post that Congress would look at restoring Trade Promotion Authority this year.

Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) is making my prediction come true.  He listed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation as a top priority for the Trade Subcommittee in his letter to two other Committees outlining Ways & Means' plans, as required by House rules.

TPA enables an Administration to negotiate trade agreements in consultation with Congress and submit them for an up or down vote without the possibility for amendments.  This makes sure we get the best deal as our counter-parties can be confident that Congress won't add additional requirements or ask for more after the deal is completed.

TPA, also known as "Fast Track," was last enacted in 2002 and expired in 2007.  The political issues surrounding it will be new to many Members of Congress and staff.

In years past, the party of the sitting President wanted TPA while the other party didn't want to grant it.  It didn't matter which party was in the White House.  The party that was in wanted it; the party that wasn't in didn't want to give it to the President.

TPA is a very important tool for actually enacting the trade agreements the U.S. negotiates with other nations.  Chairman Camp understands this.  He knows trade agreements help U.S. companies, workers and farmers sell more products and services overseas, which creates and supports jobs here at home.  He is looking down the road when the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other agreements to boost economic growth and U.S. jobs will need to be approved by Congress.

Ever Member of Congress should support TPA.

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