FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2015
Demand for Trade Change Hits New High
Washington (June 23, 2015) – Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) released the following statement:
“The Senate narrowly approved a cloture motion to end debate on Fast Track today by a vote of 60-37. Three senators did not vote. Senator Corker previously voted “yes”, Senator Menendez previously voted “no” and Senator Lee previously voted “no”. Senator Cruz (R-TX) switched from “yes” last time to “no” this time. The last Senate cloture vote was approved 62-38. Today’s vote was slightly closer at 61-39, if we assume the three non-voting Senators would have remained consistent.
“The actual Fast Track vote is expected tomorrow and will be a simple majority vote. CPA expects Fast Track to pass and President Obama to sign it. There are a few other votes in the House and Senate coming up on Trade Adjustment Assistance, customs, trade preferences for certain countries and Export-Import Bank reauthorization.
“This is not the end, but the beginning. Forty straight years of declining prosperity and trade deficits caused by incorrect establishment thinking is not changed overnight. CPA is disappointed in the vote, but optimistic that we have made tremendous gains in developing a bipartisan movement towards a successful trade and competitiveness strategy for America. The Republican and Democratic opposition to past trade policy is far stronger than it was three or four years ago. Opposition to Fast Track drastically exceeded opposition to the Korea, Peru and Colombia trade agreement passage in 2011.
“The President and Republican leadership, last January, assumed that passage of Fast Track would be easy. Instead, it was hard. Constituent emails and calls to nearly all congressional offices were heavily against Fast Track. After a series of initial defeats, drastic leadership arm-twisting occurred. Promises were made but not kept. Threats were issued. Primaries were threatened to freshmen congressmen. Committee chairmanship positions were stripped.
“The Republican base and the Democratic base remain united in their opposition to current trade and global governance policy. Job creation claims are no longer believed because they have proven false. Growth claims fall flat. The rhetoric in favor of trade deals contrasts shockingly with the data on post-agreement performance.
“America needs to establish a long term goal of balanced trade, a medium term goal of becoming a net exporting nation and a short term goal of producing more of what we consume. We need to recognize that tariffs and quotas are no longer the issue. This is not 1906 anymore. The new mercantilism and trade distortions are currency manipulation, foreign border tax hikes, industrial subsidies and a few other tactics that move the net trade needle towards deficit. Any modern trade policy must address these modern tactics. And America must fix its tax policy to substantially increase our trade competitiveness.
“CPA members and supporters, as well as voters, need to support the congressmen and senators who voted against Fast Track. Voters should withdraw support from those who voted for Fast Track. Our memories should be long, not short.”
CPA is a nonprofit organization representing the interests of 2.7 million households through our agricultural, manufacturing and labor members.