U.S. Senate Passes CalChamber-Supported Trade Bill

The U.S. Senate agreed with the California Chamber of Commerce, voting 60-38 to pass Trade Promotion Authority yesterday. The measure renews the authority for the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate trade agreements.

“Trade is an important engine for California’s economic growth and jobs,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “In fact, 4.7 million jobs in California are generated from our successful trade economy.”

Zaremberg continued, “The California business community particularly appreciates votes by members of our Congressional delegation in support of TPA. Those who supported this important measure understand that California will reap big rewards.”

Trade promotion authority is vital for the President of the United States to negotiate new multilateral, bilateral and sectoral agreements that will continue to tear down barriers to trade and investment, expand markets for farmers and businesses and create higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs in California and the nation.

California, ranked as one of the nation’s top exporting states, currently has the seventh largest economy in the world, and a gross state product exceeding $2 trillion.

“Senate approval of TPA, with a vote by Senator Dianne Feinstein, will put our state one step closer to opening markets and broadening opportunities for California goods and firms so we can remain a leader in global trade,” said CalChamber Vice President of International Affairs Susanne T. Stirling.

Background

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the TPA bill on June 18, 218-208, with the support of 16 members of the California congressional delegation. California congressional delegation members who voted in support of TPA on June 12 held firm in their support on June 18.

Among the “aye” votes were the following California representatives: Bera (D-Elk Grove), Calvert (R-Corona), Costa (D-Fresno), Davis (D-San Diego), Denham (R-Atwater), Farr (D-Carmel), Issa (R-Vista), Knight (R-Palmdale), LaMalfa (R-Richvale), McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), McClintock (R-Roseville), Nunes (R-Tulare), Peters (D-La Jolla), Royce (R-Fullerton), Valadao (R-Hanford), Walters (R-Irvine).

On June 12, the U.S. House of Representatives had narrowly approved, 219-211, the portion of the Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 that would renew TPA. A linked provision renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which was part of the U.S. Senate bill, failed to pass the House, preventing the entire package from being sent to the President to sign.

The Senate bill, TPA-15, garnered strong bipartisan support when it first passed the Senate on May 22, 62-37. Among those voting “aye” were 14 Democrats, including California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and most Republicans.

During the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors, 14 California mayors, led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, sent a letter to leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives, urging passage of TPA-2015.

Every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been granted the authority to negotiate market-opening trade agreements in consultation with Congress.

For more information, see Trade Promotion Authority.

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

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