President signs TPA bill
President Barack Obama today signed the bill granting him and his successor trade promotion authority for six years.
The bill, which Congress passed last week before leaving for the July 4 recess, will give U.S. negotiators the ability to work with trade officials in other countries with the knowledge that Congress will only vote up or down on an agreement, not try to amend it.
The negotiators are expected to use the authority to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership and try to work on other trade agreements.
Obama said he was starting off the week with an action he should have more often, “a truly bipartisan bill signing,” according to the White House press pool report.
Obama thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for their assistance in getting the bill through Congress, although they were not present.
The TPA bill was attached to H.R. 2146, the “Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act.”
Obama also signed H.R. 1295, the “Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015,” which extends and amends the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, other trade preference programs and trade adjustment assistance.
According to the White House, the following members of Congress were present:
▪ Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
▪ Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.
▪ Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va
▪ Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis.
▪ Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.
▪ Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio
▪ Rep. John Delaney, D-Md.
According to the pool report, the following people were also “spotted in the room”:
▪ White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
▪ Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
▪ Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker
▪ Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell
▪ Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
▪ U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman
▪ National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients
▪ Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet
▪ Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
▪ Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson
▪ Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue
“This bill is a big win for American jobs and leadership, and I hope the president will continue to work with us to get more bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills signed into law,” Boehner said.
U.S dairy groups have expressed frustration that Canada has not presented a major offer in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, but the International Dairy Foods Association commended Obama for signing the agreement.
“We now look forward to working both with the administration and Congress to ensure the U.S. dairy industry receives the best deals from two trade agreements currently undergoing negotiations — the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” said IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton.
–The Hagstrom Report