Newsflash:
Rep. Barbara Lee Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Issues Remain Low-Profile in Congress
Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:45

Trade Issues Remain Low-Profile in Congress

Written by  Michael Catalini and Elahe Izadi | National Journal
Rep. Devin Nunes Rep. Devin Nunes Alex Wong/Getty Images

To hear lawmakers tell it, efforts to move trade legislation through the House Ways and Means Committee, while earnest and ongoing, have hit snags in the 113th Congress.

Several big pieces of legislation are slowly winding their way through the committee, including bills dealing with trade-promotion authority and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has not ruled out holding hearings on TPA, which includes a "fast-track" provision allowing the president to submit trade bills to Congress for straight up-or-down votes. But he has not scheduled any hearings dedicated to the issue through the end of the year. Congress last passed TPA in 2002, and that law expired in 2007. The measure also sets up a framework for negotiating trade agreements.

While both Nunes and subcommittee ranking member Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., avoid political sniping, friction is there nonetheless.

"All I can tell you is what I know is that the president in his public statements has indicated an interest in the fast-track and the TPA," Rangel said. "Whatever is going on, Democrats are not involved."

Nunes said the House has a chance to lead on trade-promotion authority because, as he put it, House and Senate Democrats have reached a stalemate.

"That's why I'm trying to take the temperature on TPA," Nunes said. "I'd like to see if we can get that through. If the Democrats don't want to play ball, then I think we should try to do move that on our own."

Part of the reason Nunes hasn't set up more public hearings on trade issues is that they tip off potential trading partners to U.S. negotiating positions. Such talks are best held behind closed doors, the thinking goes.

"Any time you get the cameras in front of congressmen, it can be fun," Nunes said.

Many members also were not in Congress in 2002, and so Nunes faces an educational hurdle as he explains TPA's importance—and this trade authority bothers some members because outwardly it appears to give deference to the White House. Republicans, though, point out that Congress is heavily involved at the outset, authoring negotiating objectives, for example.

"Members are coming up to speed, but it just takes time," Nunes said.

Another key to moving TPA, say Republicans, is increased involvement from the White House. If President Obama engaged more on the issue, that would help speed things along, they argue.

But some off Capitol Hill point to the fact that Obama has been pushing harder on trade issues than during his first term. In a September speech to the Export Council, Obama specifically said trade-promotion authority was needed.

"It's obviously helpful when you have an administration and president who are talking more about how this is more important," said Christopher Wenk, senior director of international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "There's a steady drumbeat on how important it is."

Stacy Kaper contributed to this article.

This article appears in the October 24, 2013, edition of NJ Daily as Global Economic Issues Simmer Behind the Scenes

Read 5651 times

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Lee Campaign

Latest News from the Grayson Campaign

Latest News from the Schapira Campaign

  • Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race
    Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race

    With early ballots in the mail, and only three weeks from the August 28th primary, State Senator David Schapira has emerged as the Democratic standard-bearer in a closely watched and increasingly nasty three-way congressional race in Arizona that many observers see as a litmus test for national Democratic chances to pick up critical seats in Congress.

    Written on Thursday, 09 August 2012 01:45 Read more...
  • Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    “The primary in Congressional District 9 has pitted three of the brightest members of the Democratic Party in Arizona against each other. All three candidates are leaders in our state and I am honored to call them friends.

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 12:14 Read more...
  • A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira
    A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira

    Endorsements are a funny thing. Most of them aren't worth anything at all. I have two friends running in the Democratic primary in Arizona's brand new 9th CD, Kyrsten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. Kyrsten is a progressive and Andrei is somewhere in his own world ideologically. But the third guy... well, he's the one who's been endorsed by Raúl-- and by PDA. Whomever wins the August 28th primary is, likelier than not, headed to Congress. That third guy is David Schapira, the Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Saturday, 30 June 2012 13:38 Read more...
  • David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement
    David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement

    On the May Inside the Party call, David Schapira (AZ-9) received the PDA National endorsement. Currently David Schapira is the Arizona State Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Thursday, 24 May 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    The Arizona Communications Workers of America (CWA) State Council announced today their endorsement of Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in the race for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. The state council is comprised of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association (AZCPOA), the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and multiple CWA local affiliates.

    Written on Thursday, 17 May 2012 19:55 Read more...
  • Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira
    Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira

    Congressman Raúl Grijalva, AZ-07, today announced his endorsement of Arizona Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in his campaign for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. “Voters are looking for candidates who stand up for what they believe in and can win, not by hiding their values, but by sharing them with voters. David is that candidate,” said Rep. Grijalva.

    Written on Monday, 30 April 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Union Rights Stripped

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pushes the country's most anti-union agenda yet. David Shapira, Democratic leader of the Arizona state senate, slams his Republican colleagues. Welcome back to "The Ed Show." Jan Brewer and the Arizona Republicans are on a tear. they are on the offensive. they are on a mission to completely destroy public employee unions. have you heard the story before?

    Written on Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race
    State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race

    As predicted, former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema's not the only Democrat with her eye on Arizona's new Congressional seat -- this morning, state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira announced that he, too, will run in Arizona's newly formed 9th Congressional district.

    Written on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00 Read more...

Sign the ERA Petition

ERADemandButton

On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)

Button-SignERAPetition

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Rep. Barbara Lee

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of