It may not be often that President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) agree publicly, but they do on the need to approve one of NEMA’s legislative priorities: the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015). Why? It’s needed for Congress to set negotiating objectives for U.S. trade agreements aimed at opening foreign markets for NEMA companies of all sizes. It’s also needed so those agreements can be reached and submitted to Congress and the public for review and approval.
In a 15-minute radio interview yesterday (June 3), President Obama spoke at length about the U.S. economy, its role in the global economy (see title quote), and the need for the U.S. to assert its trade leadership, in part through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement now under negotiation. He cited strong interests in the Asia-Pacific region and his commitment to strike a TPP deal to make sure that American companies and workers can sell their products and services there in the future under high-standard rules that American companies and workers already meet. To be successful on trade, “we have to engage, not withdraw,” he asserted. Trade shaped and supported by TPA-2015 is by no means a panacea — we also need to improve our infrastructure, reform the tax code, support education, etc. — but trade is a central issue that we cannot ignore or leave waiting any longer.
Speaker Boehner released his own short video yesterday also laying out in clear terms that at its core TPA is about U.S. jobs and competitiveness. Americans benefit from trade with the rest of the world, the Speaker explains, and TPA gives Congress and the American people authority over what is included in any trade agreement.
The House is expected to take up the TPA-2015 bill in the coming days. President Obama, Speaker Boehner, NEMA, many of our member companies, and many other industries, businesses, and workers are making the case in favor of passage. Your Representative needs to hear from you now.