While the House today voted 219-208 to approve Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, it failed to pass Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which is required to send the trade package to the President.
Despite an in person appearance on Capitol Hill Friday morning by President Obama, House Democrats voted to kill assistance to workers displaced by global trade, a program their party created and has stood by for four decades. “We want a better deal for America’s workers,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader who was personally lobbied by Mr. Obama until the last minute. House Speaker John Boehner said he will bring back the TAA language early next week, giving everyone another bite at the apple. “We just passed a major trade agreement so we have done our part,” said Rep. Steve Scalise. “Obviously, TAA is a piece that the President is going to have to deliver the votes on and we delivered more of the votes than we were expected to, but at the end of the day, this is now up to the President if he is going to get this thing over the finish line.”
The Senate approved TPA and TAA as a package and, thus,the House must approve both TPA and TAA before it can move to the White House for a Presidential signature.
Failure to pass TPA, which effectively would be a vote against TPP, would send a signal to the world that the United States is turning its back on the Asia-Pacific region – the fastest growing area in the world – and would allow other countries to write the rules for international trade, according to the National Pork Producers Council. “The vote by the House today is an absolute win for soybean farmers in the United States, but it only gets us halfway to our goal without a compromise on TAA,” said The American Soybean Association. ASA President Wade Cowan called on House members to come together on this critical trade issue, “We call on Democrats and Republicans in the House to come together and resolve their differences on TAA so we can get back to the business of building strong relationships between American farmers and customers around the world.”
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson applauded today’s House vote that effectively kills – at least for now – Trade Promotion Authority. “Today’s vote was a clear signal that the fast track authorities being negotiated for the president simply do not live up to their hype,” said Johnson. “NFU is hopeful this action gives Congress the time to rethink granting the President the ability to bypass Congress’s constitutional check on trade negotiations, an ability that has served as a major setback for America’s workers, family farmers and ranchers, and this nation’s future prosperity.”