Congress Should Have a Say on Trade

Today I voted to give Congress and the American people control over the president’s existing power to negotiate trade agreements. Congress and the American people should have a say when it comes to trade agreements. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) will put a much-needed check on the Obama administration’s existing ability to enact trade agreements without Congress’ approval. TPA will ensure Congress has the final say when there is a vote on any trade agreement, from any president. This includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has not been finalized and has not yet been considered by Congress. Today I also supported a provision to ensure that the president cannot use TPA to change the immigration laws of the U.S. or expand access to visas without Congressional approval.

TPA ensures trade agreements are considered in the most transparent manner possible by requiring the full text of trade agreements like TPP to be made public. This will give Congress and the public 60 days to review it and then Congress will have the ability to either approve or reject the trade agreement. I have already reviewed a draft of the current Trans-Pacific Partnership, and I encourage my constituents to read it once the draft language is finalized. The Obama administration has the burden of proving that the TPP will benefit both the U.S. and Texas. If it cannot do that, I will not support TPP.

Texas leads all other states in the export of goods and services. Free trade supports 3 million jobs in Texas and 40,000 local businesses. More than one in four jobs recently created in Texas have stemmed from exports. In the 21st Congressional District alone, local businesses exported more than $19 billion of goods and services in 2013.

I support free market and free trade policies that encourage job creation and economic growth.

In May, the Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority with the support of both Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Trade Promotion Authority allows negotiations to move forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a possible free trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries, including Japan and Australia. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership itself would still face another vote in Congress before the U.S. could enter into the agreement.


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