Upon what the press is calling the stunning “failure” of the President’s trade agenda to pass on Friday after the House failed to pass the Trade Adjustment Assistance initiative, President Obama has a different take.
In a statement, the President explained that he is gratified with the bipartisan approval of trade fast track provision (TPA), which he says will expand workers’ rights, and explains that there is work left to do to see that the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is renewed and expanded. The Senate renewed the provision on a bipartisan basis, but the House failed to do so, in a charge led by Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is holding out for what she is calling a better deal for workers.
The Statement by the President:
Today, Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to help the United States negotiate and enforce strong, high-standard trade deals that are good for American workers and good for American businesses. That’s a good thing. My top priority as President is to grow the economy and open new avenues of opportunity for hardworking Americans. And today’s new economy demands we encourage new sources of growth and job creation, so that America remains vital, dynamic, and on the cutting edge. That’s what smart new trade agreements can do – agreements for fair and free trade that level the playing field for our workers, open new markets for our businesses, and hold other countries to the kinds of high standards that Americans are proud to hold ourselves to here at home. These kinds of agreements reflect the realities of a 21st century economy. These kinds of agreements make sure that the global economy’s rules aren’t written by countries like China; they’re written by the United States of America. And to stand in their way is to do nothing but preserve the long-term status quo for American workers, and make it even harder for them to succeed.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) will expand workers’ rights, it will protect the environment, it will promote a free and open Internet, and it will support robust new measures to crack down on countries that break the rules – the same way we’ve brought dozens of new trade cases over the past six years, and won again and again. But as I’ve said before, new trade agreements should go hand in hand with support to American workers who’ve been harmed by trade in the past. Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is an initiative that would give roughly 100,000 American workers access to vital support each year. But it’s currently scheduled to expire soon. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have renewed it. Republicans and Democrats in the House failed to renew it today – and that inaction will directly hurt about 100,000 workers and their communities annually if those Members of Congress don’t reconsider. I urge the House to pass TAA without delay so that more middle-class workers can earn the chance to participate and succeed in our global economy.
I thank the bipartisan group of Representatives who came together on behalf of America’s workers, our businesses, and our economy. And I urge the House of Representatives to pass TAA as soon as possible, so I can sign them both, and give our workers and businesses even more wind at their backs to do what they do best: imagine, invent, build, and sell goods Made in America to the rest of the world.
Liberals revolted from TAA in hopes of getting a better deal for workers. One of the results of the outcome of the 2014 election was the Democratic caucus is much more liberal, and today’s vote is indicative of that shift. But the country is also moving further left.
We can only hope that this means workers get even 1/1,000,000 of the help Wall Street gets every day on the Hill.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.