WASHINGTON- As the debate in Washington turns to trade, President Bush has asked Congress to grant him Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Formerly known as "fast track," TPA has been the indispensable tool of U.S. trade policy granted to each of America\’s past five Presidents. The law would allow Congress to vote "up or down" on a trade agreement, but not to amend the negotiations, ensuring that negotiators will strike agreements that have broad political and public support.Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, issued the following statement on the issue of Trade Promotion Authority:
"Free trade is at the center of American foreign policy, and granting Trade Promotion Authority to President Bush should be the next priority for this Congress. Every day, the rest of the world is moving forward and signing trade compacts that exclude the United States. And every day we put off finalizing trade agreements with Chile, Singapore, and Latin America, consumers in all nations have less to spend, while America\’s role on the world stage diminishes.
"Expanding free trade empowers people everywhere by liberating commerce from the clutches of state regulation. Trade agreements decrease tariffs, an invisible tax on all consumers, and increase trade, which boosts economic growth. But most importantly, human beings have a fundamental right to trade the fruits of their labor without government interference, and we should enact trade agreements that move us toward that goal whenever possible.
"America was founded on trade, and we grew strong by constantly opening foreign markets to our goods and services. Those members of Congress who oppose free trade in general and TPA in particular have pessimistically decided that American enterprise cannot compete with foreign business. But the American spirit of free enterprise and lower taxes always triumphs – and TPA for the President is the next necessary step in that direction."