CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 1875 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on April 2, 2009.
H.R. 1875 would establish an Emergency Trade Deficit Commission composed of 11 compensated members appointed by the president and bipartisan leaders in Congress. Members would have expertise in economics, international trade, manufacturing, labor, environment, or business.
The Commission would examine the nature, causes, and consequences of the U.S. trade deficit and provide recommendations on how to address and reduce trade balances. The commission would also examine other issues such as the impact of free trade agreements on the trade deficit and the role and impact of imports of oil and other energy on the trade deficit. The Commission would provide recommendations on how to improve trade balances and report to Congress. The Commission would terminate 30 days after the date on which it submits its report.
H.R. 1875 would authorize $2 million to carry out the Act.
U.S. exports and imports have grown consistently since the mid-twentieth century. A July 2010 study prepared for the Business Roundtable noted that as U.S. trade expands, so does U.S. employment. Today, more than 38 million U.S. jobs depend on trade—more than one in five. Additionally, the net impact of trade on U.S. manufacturing is positive. Indeed, every state has seen net employment gains directly related to trade.
Importantly, the U.S. trade balance with the 13 countries for which free trade agreements have been implemented under improved by 467 percent between 2001 and 2009, creating a trade surplus of over $25 billion with these countries. In 2009, the U.S. had a surplus of over $26 billion in manufactured goods with all free trade partners combined (including NAFTA).
Members may be concerned that in his 2009 State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged to double exports within five years, thus creating 2 million jobs. However, the president has yet to submit any of the pending free trade agreements (with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama) to Congress for approval.
An analysis by the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates U.S. exports to Panama for key products will increase by between 9 and 145 percent if that deal was implemented. The ITC also estimates that, through the Korea deal, U.S. exports to Korea would increase by at least $9.7 billion. For Colombia, the ITC estimates U.S. exports to Colombia will increase by $1.1 billion and the trade deal would add $2.5 billion per year to U.S. GDP.
The Congressional Budget Office has not produced a score for H.R. 1875 as of press time, but the bill authorizes the appropriation of $2 million.