Grassley, Ernst disappointed by TPA vote

Trade -- ShippingBy The Iowa Statesman


Tuesday, the U.S. Senate, led by Democrats and a small group of Republicans, prevented a debate and vote on the Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which restores Trade Promotion Authority. Both of Iowa’s senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, were in favor of the legislation, and said they were “disappointed” by the outcome.

“It’s disappointing for senators to refuse to allow a trade bill to come up for debate, especially those who voted for the bill in committee just a few weeks ago,” Grassley said. “The current Senate majority leader is working to bring the Senate back to regular order from the previous leadership, including the ability to offer amendments and hold debate, so the concerns that senators might not get to offer amendments ring a little hollow.”

“Trade plays an important role in Iowa’s economy, and I’m disappointed that some in Congress are blocking bipartisan legislation to move forward on a trade agenda,” Ernst said. “Iowa stands to directly benefit by opening up international trade that would boost our agricultural exports, provide new market opportunities and reduce trade barriers for our manufacturers and create more jobs here in the U.S. Importantly, passage of TPA would help to ensure greater transparency so that Iowans are better informed about U.S. trade negotiations and ensure we get the best deals possible.”

She said the proposed legislation would:
• identify congressional trade policy priorities;
• establish new notification, consultation and transparency requirements for the administration;
• provide for expedited congressional consideration of trade agreements in order to ensure our trading partners put their best offers on the table; and
• ultimately strengthen Congress’ voice on a final vote of approval on any negotiated trade agreement.

Grassley added that President Obama needs to get more directly involved in lobbying for TPA.

“If he wants to see trade expansion happen, if trade really is a top priority, he ought to put the bully pulpit of the presidency behind getting it done,” he said. “In the meantime, the situation is frustrating to the agricultural producers, manufacturers, services providers and everybody else who sees the potential for U.S. economic growth in trade expansion.”