Sen. Johnny Isakson is urging his fellow senators to pass a new bipartisan trade promotion authority (TPA) law, saying that the United States will reap economic benefits if the bipartisan effort is passed.
"Trade promotion authority is good for America. It’s good for our country and it’s good for our economy," said the Georgia Republican in Saturday's GOP address
. "It's good for middle-class American families who will reap the benefits of more jobs."
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Passage of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which is on its way to the Senate floor, will set out clear, congressionally mandated objectives, that a sitting president must achieve in international trade agreements, said Isakson.
"The legislation will go for six years and requires presidents of either party to consult with Congress before final approval of any agreement," he said. "Congress still has the final say in approving a trade agreement."
Further, the legislation does not guarantee that any proposed trade agreement will be immediately approved, but will instead be first scrutinized by lawmakers, Isakson said.
"Republicans will not support any attempt to override U.S. law by sneaking extra provisions into any trade agreement," he said. "That includes provisions on immigration policies."
TPA also does not give a president any "new authority to expand immigration or change other laws without the approval of the Congress of the United States," said Isakson.
He noted that in Georgia, 1.2 million jobs are directly related to international trade, and in the last 10 years, the state's exports to its trading partners grew by 69 percent.
"With the negotiations on trade deals that are ongoing, we expect that to just continue," Isakson said.
Further, with the Panama Canal opening next year to the larger ships of the world, Georgia is racing to expand its Savannah Harbor to accommodate those vessels, he said.
"This project will make the city of Savannah, the state of Georgia, and the entire Southeast a hub of global imports and exports," said Isakson. "But if we don’t pass trade promotion authority, we will risk losing all those goods and services they carry, going elsewhere around the world."
Trade is not a partisan issue, but instead, about creating jobs and helping American families, he insisted.
"Raising the prosperity of the American people is the best way to raise revenue while also raising hope and opportunity," Isakson said. "This trade promotion authority legislation does precisely that."
Also in Georgia, Caterpillar was able to move part of its overseas manufacturing operations back to the United States, thanks to a favorable trade condition, said Isakson.
"That’s what Trade Promotion Authority has the potential to do for all of America," he said. This is going to ensure that America — not China or any other country — is at the forefront of writing the global rules of economy and trade in the world. It is going to empower America through jobs and economic growth."
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