Washington, D.C. is alphabet city. You’ve got the EPA and the IRS, and the FCC and the HHS. It’s enough acronyms to make your head spin!
But to understand what’s happening today, you only need to know two: TPA and TPP. They sound similar, but they’re very different.
TPA, or trade promotion authority, is an agreement that gives Congress the ability to review — and reject or confirm — any trade agreement the President makes. TPA puts Congress — and you — at the decision-making table, so your priorities are represented in every trade agreement the United States makes. TPA is what the House is voting on today.
TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a trade agreement that’s been under negotiation since the Bush administration. There is no scheduled vote for TPP.
To reiterate: TPP is a trade agreement. TPA is not. The House is not voting on a trade agreement.
Now that you understand the difference between these two acronyms, here’s a short quiz. Should you be a supporter of TPA?
1. Do you love free enterprise?
2. Do you support Americans having well-paying jobs?
3. Do you believe in representative government?
4. Do you want to hold President Obama accountable?
5. Do you want trade deals to be open to and accessible by the public?
The United States, when able to compete, always does well on the global market. In fact, 96% of the world’s customers are outside of the United States — and American goods are in high demand!
Right now there are unnecessary barriers to entry. Many trade negotiators won’t consider American input without trade promotion authority. TPA is needed to give Americans a level playing field so we can set the rules and influence the global economy. If we don’t, China will.
One in 5 jobs in the United States is supported by trade. And these jobs, on average, pay 18% more than non-trade jobs. TPA increases the chance that American manufacturers and producers will have access to a global market, which in turn means more jobs at home to meet the demand.
You elect your Member of Congress to represent your interests in Washington, D.C. Without TPA, your representative is unable to advocate on your behalf during trade negotiations.
President Obama has given the American people reason to doubt his transparency and accountability. Many have used this lack of trust as a reason to disapprove of TPA. It should be the other way around. If you don’t trust the President, and you want him to be more transparent and accountable to the American people, then we need TPA. The negotiations for TPP are largely “secret” because there is no TPA forcing the details to be public.
The President currently has the authority to negotiate trade deals away from the American public’s watchful eye. TPA doesn’t give more power to the President. It gives more power to Congress, therefore more power to the American people.