President Bush demands Senate vote on stalled Trade Promotion Authority by April 22nd.
WASHINGTON – In a speech in the Ben Franklin room of the U.S. State Department earlier today, President Bush urged Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to bring the stalled Trade Promotion Authority bill to a vote in the U.S. Senate by April 22nd. (The President\’s speech can be viewed on the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) website at www.atr.org.)
The bill, a version of which passed in the House last fall, has been stalled in the Senate for almost a year. Yet, with the support of most Republicans and a significant number of Democrats, the bill would likely pass in the body.
Taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads ATR in Washington, called the President\’s exhortation "a bold and well-needed wake-up call to the obstructionist Democrats who are running the Senate."
Trade Promotion Authority, formerly known as "fast track" legislation, would give the President the power to negotiate trade and commerce treaties with other nations, while leaving Congress the power to approve the negotiations with an up-or-down vote. Congress could reject the negotiations, but not amend them, ensuring that negotiators will strike agreements that have broad political and public support. All five of the last American presidents have had this power.
"Free trade benefits all parties involved. It lowers taxes on consumers, opens markets for businesses, and creates more efficient economies wherever implemented. And with NAFTA so close to completion, the next step is to begin talks on a Free Trade Area of the Americas to create an entire hemisphere of free trade among democratic nations from the Bering Strait to the Tierra del Fuego. For a new century, it will usher in an era of peace and prosperity for all of North and South America."
"Taxes are tariffs," Norquist continued, "and TPA would amount to one of the largest tax cuts of the coming century. America was founded on trade, commerce, and low taxes. Trade Promotion Authority enhances all three of these principles."