New Democrat Coalition Members' Statement on Introduction of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014

Washington, D.C. – Upon introduction of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, the New Democrat Coalition Members released the following statement:

“As New Democrats, we believe in trade that is fair for America’s businesses and workers. Trade must level the playing field with our partners and eliminate unfair barriers for Americans trying to sell their goods and services overseas and strengthen international worker and environmental protections.

“We are encouraged by the introduction of a bipartisan, bicameral bill to spur action on Trade Promotion Authority.  We look forward to working with our colleagues in considering this bill.  Since President Franklin Roosevelt, Congress has granted presidents of both parties trade negotiating authority 18 different times. We are pleased to hear that several key improvements the New Democrats have advocated—such as increased Congressional consultation and the inclusion of provisions from the May 10, 2007 agreement that brought labor and environmental standards into trade agreements with the same dispute settlement and remedies as commercial chapters, appear to have been included in TPA (as noted in the introduction release).   We also will work to ensure that during consideration of this bill we maintain TPA’s requirement that trade agreements have strong labor and environmental standards.

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live beyond America’s borders.  As New Democrats, we support a robust trade strategy that will open and expand these markets and empower American innovators, businesses, and farmers to sell their products overseas, creating good paying jobs here at home.  The International Trade Administration estimates that 10 million jobs are directly tied to exporting goods and services with millions of more indirect jobs.  Trade Promotion Authority will help the Administration conclude important agreements that will open markets and create jobs.  

“We also believe it is critical for Congress to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which expired at the end of last year. Since the Kennedy administration, TAA has been a vital program to ensure that no American worker is left behind in the global marketplace, and we will work tirelessly for its renewal.

“We need 21st century trade promotion authority for 21st century trade agreements. Now is not the time for America to turn away from its role as a leader in the global economy. Now is the time for America to embrace its leadership role, and move forward with a trade agenda that creates jobs, boosts economic growth, transparently breaks down tariff and non-tariff barriers, and reinforces America’s standing in the world.”

New Democrat Coalition Chair Ron Kind (WI-03), Vice-Chair Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Vice Chair Jim Himes, (CT-04), Trade Taskforce Co-Chairs Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and Cedric Richmond (LA-02), and Members Jared Polis (CO-02), Jim Moran (VA-08), Adam Smith (WA-09), and Mike Quigley (IL-05) endorsed this statement.