WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and other pro-trade Members of Congress, along with conservative and free market groups, held a press conference in the Capitol to reiterate their support for the Trade Priorities and Accountability (TPA) Act.
A full transcript of his remarks are below:
“I want to thank our conservative partners who are helping work with us to get this Trade Promotion Authority put in place, to be able to go out and open up markets so that we can sell more American goods across the world.
Of course, we all know we live in a global, competitive marketplace but American trade is critical to giving our workers a competitive advantage so that they can make products here in America and sell them in other countries without all of the limitations that are placed upon us.
You don’t hear a whole lot of problems that companies in foreign nations have getting access to American markets. It’s relatively easy for people to sell products in our country. What’s really difficult is for companies that are here in America, making products that are built by American workers, being able to sell those products to countries where we don’t have trade agreements.
And, of course if you start in Asia, we have a lot of limitations that are placed upon us that make it very difficult for us to sell American products in many of these Asian countries that we are trying to get an agreement with so we can open those markets up.
This is something that gives Congress the authority to write the rules so that we can constrain the President, so that he can’t go and put things in a trade agreement that we disagree with. So, in the TPA bill, there are 150 different items that we lay out, that are the rules of the road that the President has to follow when he is negotiating. And by the way, that’s available online. Anybody in the country can read that bill. But in that bill, we also say, that any final trade agreement that’s reached, whether it’s an Asian nations, European nations or any other group of nations, any trade agreement that’s finalized has to be made available online for 60 days for the entire country to be able to read. That’s something, a level of transparency that doesn’t exist today, that we actually establish in this TPA legislation. And then we put an extra protection in place to make sure that the President has to follow the guidelines that Congress establishes. And that is an off switch. In essence, a veto authority that Congress has over any deal the President cuts.
And I talk to people in relation to the Iran deal. Imagine, if as the President is negotiating with Iran and so many of us have real serious concerns, as Prime Minister Netanyahu laid out over that Iranian deal. Yet you cannot go and see the Iranian deal. Imagine if it had to be online available for 60 days after it was finished. And it couldn’t take effect unless Congress passed it. Anybody that’s following that Iranian deal would take that TPA-style oversight in a minute. And that’s in fact what we do in TPA. Those kinds of protections are in place in TPA for any trade deal that’s negotiated.”