Job-creating Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill finally passes Senate by 64 to 34 margin.
WASHINGTON – Taxpayers and consumers won a major victory today, when the United States Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill by an 64 to 34 margin.
The Senate followed the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed the same legislation on Saturday by a 215 to 212 vote. The bill gives the President power to negotiate trade agreements with other nations, where Congress could approve or reject, but not amend, the treaties.
"Taxpayers and consumers won a major victory today," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "Every day that passed without TPA saw the loss of American productivity and jobs," he continued "and it\’s a shame the Senate and Tom Daschle took so long to grasp this opportunity."
International trade has long been a backbone of both America\’s economy and foreign policy. Recently, politics got in its way in the U.S. Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) held the TPA legislation up for nearly six months after the House passed it last fall.
Every American President since 1974 has been granted trade promotion powers, but Congress let the measure lapse in 1994. This is especially noteworthy, considering that of 131 trade agreements worldwide, America is party to only three, with Israel, Jordan, and NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico.
Increasing trade by lowering tariffs and subsidies worldwide provides new markets for American manufacturing and agricultural products. Indeed, the Washington Post editorialized earlier in the week: "Poor countries would get a better chance to export their way out of poverty. Rich countries\’ taxpayers would benefit, because they would finance fewer subsidies. Consumers the world over would pay less for goods that had previously been subject to tariffs."
Norquist continued:"It\’s no surprise the stock market jumped when TPA came out of conference committee. Those members of Congress who opposed TPA are responsible for the loss of millions of American jobs. The globalization of the American economy demanded passage of TPA, and with President Bush\’s signature, America can move on to real prosperity."