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Free Trade Legislation Passes House

Washington, June 18, 2015

Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill and it passed by a vote of 218-208. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supports free trade and supported the legislation.    

TPA, known as “fast track,” is not a trade deal. TPA simply sets up a process for Congress to consider trade deals; in this case, Congress expects to consider the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is still being negotiated.  The TPA bill that the House voted on today guarantees that Congress will maintain a meaningful role in all trade negotiations through increased transparency and ensures that Congress will hold the administration accountable with effective oversight measures.  If TPA is signed into law, Congress and the public will have 60 days to review any proposed trade deal before it will come up for a vote.  Congress will retain the final say on passage or failure of trade deals, and Congress will reject any proposal that does not serve the best interests of the United States. 

“When Congress does consider trade agreements, we need to remember that 95% of the world market is outside of our borders,” said Simpson. “Participating in trade deals is good for the American economy and good for increasing employment here.  Americans need to be the ones writing the rules for international trade, not leaving it up to other countries and risk being left behind in the global economy.  Members of Congress can’t just claim to be supportive of free trade at home—we must support it here in Washington with our votes.”

Today’s vote follows last week’s three votes in the House related to trade.  Although fast track passed by a vote of 219-211 last week, it could not advance because it was part of a package sent by the Senate that didn’t pass overall.   Congressman Simpson voted in support of all four trade measures.  The TPA bill that passed the House today will now move to the Senate for further consideration.