In a letter sent this week to President Obama, 12 senators urged the administration to submit immediately the implementing language for the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea with the understanding that there will be a vote – with enough support for passage – on a separate Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill, on which the White House is insisting.
The Republican senators committed to support cloture – a vote to cut off prolonged debate – on a TAA bill that includes bipartisan reforms negotiated between Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
In their letter, the lawmakers said the FTAs and TAA deserve separate up or down votes on their merits. “Our country is in a fiscal crisis, and export promotion is one of the few budget-neutral tools available to help spur job growth,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a former
U.S. Trade Representative, who signed the letter, said in a press release.
“That’s why advancing job-creating agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama that expand exports is so urgent and timely. If we aren’t moving forward in the global economy, we’re falling behind. It’s time for the president to submit these agreements. We can pass TAA and these export agreements in separate votes, and we can get them passed now.”