WASHINGTON (June 18, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said today’s vote to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives was a major setback for America’s workers, family farmers and ranchers and this nation’s future prosperity.
“Unfortunately, instead of choosing to pass legislation that protects America’s workers, environment and health, Congress has instead passed a continuation of the status quo, said Johnson. “And that means more lost middle-class jobs and higher trade deficits.”
TPA — also known as “Fast Track”— grants the administration the ability to secretly negotiate trade deals and only permits an up or down vote by Congress, with zero amendments. The bill has passed the Senate once, but now returns to the Senate as leadership used a procedural end-around to move the bill forward after last week’s failed vote.
“The U.S. trade deficit for last year totaled over $500 billion, and that deficit is largely due to these flawed ‘free trade’ agreements,” said Johnson. “Our trade deficit is a net drag on our economy by a full 3 percent, which means lost jobs and lower wages for working Americans, the House had the right approach last week when it rejected this misguided measure” he said.
Johnson noted that despite today’s vote, TPA is not a done deal. NFU will continue its fight against this legislation in each of its forms and for a more balanced approach to trade. “NFU will continue to work for a trade policy that prioritizes domestic food production and goods supply chains instead of flawed policies that force family farmers and ranchers out of business, depress wages and export too many of our best jobs,” he said.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.