A Step Closer to Passage of Free Trade Agreements

By August 4, 2011Trade

Yesterday Leaders Reid and McConnell released a joint statement annoucing they have agreed to a path forward for bringing the Colombia, South Korea and Panama free trade agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance up for a vote.

Sen. Reid’s statement:

“My staff and Senator McConnell’s staff have been in discussions for weeks over the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and the three outstanding FTAs. We believe those discussions have provided a path forward in the Senate after we return for passage of the bipartisan compromise on the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, followed by passage of the three FTAs. I do not support movement on the FTAs, which I have never supported, until TAA has passed.”

Sen. McConnell’s statement:

“I agree with the Majority Leader that we have a path forward on TAA and the Free Trade Agreements. I have long supported passage of the long-delayed FTAs, and I know that I speak for many on my side of the aisle that we are eager to get moving and finally pass them. Although I do not personally support TAA, I know there is bipartisan support for this program.”

We also recieved an assurance from House Ways and Means Chairman Camp that the House will move forward with votes on the agreements and TAA when they return:

“Today’s agreement on a path forward in the Senate brings us one step closer toward enacting the long-pending, job-creating trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.  Every day that goes by, we lose more export and job opportunities to our European and Canadian counterparts, who have already entered into agreements with these countries.   Washington must act and act now; we cannot afford to let these trade agreements languish any longer.  As we’ve said repeatedly, the House is prepared to act on the three pending trade agreements and on Trade Adjustment Assistance, and I urge the Senate and the White House to be ready to walk down the path announced today in September.”

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released a statement noting this is a positive step forward which will lead to jobs:

Manufacturers urge Congress to pass all three agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance. American workers are losing nearly $8 million a day in wages and benefits while the agreements remain stalled. We can no longer afford to wait, and we look forward to a vote in early September.”

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