Rep. Lipinski Fights for American Workers, Opposes Bill Abdicating Congressional Responsibility by Granting President the Authority to "Fast Track" Trade Agreements

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) issued the following statement today regarding his opposition to H.R. 3830, the Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, legislation that was introduced last week to grant the President trade promotion authority (TPA) – also known as “fast track” authority – on international trade agreements currently being negotiated.  The bill would allow the Administration to negotiate trade agreements with foreign nations and then “fast track” legislation implementing these agreements through Congress in a short time period with limited debate and no amendments allowed.

“Recently legislation has been introduced by some members of Congress that would allow new international trade agreements currently being negotiated by the Obama Administration – such as the Trans Pacific Partnership – to be “fast tracked” through Congress. This would be a terrible mistake. Too often in recent years Congress has failed the American people by abdicating its responsibilities and relinquishing too much power to the executive branch. This has been especially harmful when it comes to trade agreements.

“Over the last few decades we have seen American presidents – both Democrats and Republicans – negotiate trade agreements that they promised would help American workers. But these promises of more and better jobs have not only gone unfulfilled, once the negotiated trade pacts were implemented we have seen larger trade deficits and a declining standard of living for middle-class Americans. In our increasingly connected world, greater foreign trade is necessary to grow the American economy and create more jobs. To this end, international agreements that break down barriers to trade and open markets to fair competition can be good.

“Congress has a responsibility to the American people to be fully informed about trade agreements the Administration is negotiating, to take time to carefully study concluded agreements and to make necessary changes to the implementing legislation the Administration sends to Congress. Only then can we be certain that the interests of American workers are being served and not just American business interests. The legislation currently being proposed to grant trade promotion authority would undermine those responsibilities. For these reasons, I cannot support it.”

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