Rep. Rod Blum Releases Statement on Trade Legislation
“Yesterday, I joined 178 Democrats and 33 Republicans in voting “no” on H.Res. 305, a procedural measure on the rules for consideration of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) by the House of Representatives. Though the current form of TPA does include Congressional oversight over the trade agreement process, I voted no because I believed the House should have taken more time to improve the bill by giving Congress additional oversight and strengthening protections for American workers and American jobs in any free trade agreement. The resolution passed the House by a 217 to 212 vote when 8 Democrats decided to vote “yes.”
“Today, after reading the entire bill, I voted “yes” on TPA, which passed 219 - 211, for several reasons. First, TPA will force the Obama administration to finally make the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement completely public. All Americans should be able to view a trade agreement of this size and importance before it is enacted, and without TPA that would not happen. Second, TPA allows Congress to reject ANY trade agreements -- including TPP -- if the deal does not benefit America. Third, TPA gives Congress a seat at the table by including nearly 150 specific pro-America negotiating objectives for free trade agreements. If the Obama administration fails to achieve any of those objectives Congress can revoke TPA at any time.
“I also voted “yes” on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) today in conjunction with TPA. TAA, which failed 126 - 302, provides important benefits and access to retraining programs for American workers who have lost their jobs due to the impact of international trade so they can obtain the skills they need to get back in the workforce quickly. TAA is currently scheduled to be reconsidered by the House next week.”
“Overall, I know trade is highly beneficial for America and for Iowa. In fact, 1 in 5 jobs in Iowa depend on trade, and opening up new world markets for Iowa products will drive up wages for Iowa workers and increase prosperity in our communities. 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and good free trade agreements give American businesses access to those customers so they can sell more American products and hire more American workers. Further, America has a trade SURPLUS with countries with which we have free trade agreements, and a trade DEFICIT with countries with whom we have no free trade agreement.”
Rod Blum is the Republican Congressman in Iowa’s 1st District. He is a member of the Budget and Oversight & Government Reform Committees.