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Expanding Opportunity

Congressional Action to Date on Trade

  • Last December, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan TPA legislation. In June of this year, the House appointed conferees. In May, the Senate passed TPA legislation with a strong bipartisan vote of 66-30, and in July, appointed its conferees. The conference has begun. In addition to TPA, the conference will address differences in the House and Senate bills on the ATPA, TAA, and Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programs.
  • President Bush has called upon Congress to finish its work on TPA legislation before the August recess. "It's time to stop talking; it's time to start acting."

Why Are Trade and TPA so Critical?

  • Trade is essential to America's economic growth and prosperity.
    • Exports accounted for roughly one-quarter of all U.S. economic growth in the 1990s.
    • Jobs in exporting plants pay wages an estimated 13-18% higher than jobs in non-exporting plants.
    • 1-in-11 American workers -- 12 million jobs -- depend on exports of goods and services.
  • TPA is a contract between the President and Congress on America's trade agenda. Congress and the President agree on the goals our negotiators pursue at the negotiating table. The President consults with Congress at every step of the process, and Congress reviews the agreements the President brings back.

Every President since Gerald Ford has had the power to negotiate trade deals with an up or down vote from Congress. That authority lapsed in 1994, and President Bush is asking Congress to reinstate it.