November 2, 2015
15 Hatchechubee Rd
Palmyra, VA 22963-3131
Dear Mr. Landsberg:
Thank you for contacting me about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. I appreciate hearing from you.
Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) the United States is seeking to enhance trade and investment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. is leading TPP efforts to increase American exports, reduce economic barriers, and support employment and business opportunities. Currently, the Asia-Pacific region includes some of the world's most robust economies, offering a high demand for American-made goods and services. Total U.S. trade with TPP countries was $1.6 trillion in goods in 2014 and $274 billion in services in 2013.
The United States stands strong to compete in a globalized and interconnected economy. That is one reason I support investments that help ensure American workers have access to higher education and advanced technical skills. As Co-Chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, I have re-introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Workforce Act. This bill would raise the quality of CTE programs across the country by encouraging secondary schools to establish partnerships between local businesses and regional industries and improving links between high school and postsecondary education programs.
In March 2013, the Obama Administration called on Congress to help bolster the negotiating credibility of the United States throughout trade discussions by reauthorizing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expired in 2007. TPA legislation would expedite trade negotiations, enable Congress to define trade negotiating objectives, authorize the President to enter into trade agreements, and allow trade agreements such as the TPP to be considered under expedited legislative procedures. On April 16th, 2015, Senators Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden introduced TPA legislation, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. This legislation was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on April 22nd, 2015, by a vote of 20-6.
A stronger economic partnership with the Asia-Pacific region can significantly expand economic opportunities for Virginia workers and businesses, strengthen America's ability to lead abroad, and advance our national interests. That is why on June 24th, 2015, after much discussion with labor, agriculture, and business leaders in Virginia, I voted in favor of TPA legislation, which passed the Senate by a vote of 60-38. The legislation, H.R. 2146, outlines objectives that any Administration must follow when negotiating trade deals, improves access to information for members of Congress and the public, and allows the removal of TPA procedures if an Administration fails to meet strict TPA requirements. TPA creates a framework that elevates the standards for global trade in ways that help ensure American workers compete on a level playing field. Finally, it will ensure any trade deal will be provided to the public for proper review and reaction for an extended period of time, making this trade deal one of the most transparent pieces of legislation we consider in Congress.
After voting for TPA, I also voted for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) legislation, which provides essential aid to workers who are displaced by global trade. TAA ensures our workers are skilled and trained, and provided opportunities in an increasingly global economy. This legislation passed the Senate and President Obama has signed it into law. I was unwilling to consider TPA without TAA and strong customs enforcement provisions that the House and Senate have approved. I am pleased this important package of trade legislation has successfully moved through Congress.
On October 5th, 2015, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced that the TPP countries had reached a comprehensive agreement that will help define the rules of trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Under the TPA legislation that passed last June, the President must notify Congress at least 90 days before signing the TPP agreement and the text of the deal must be made public for at least 60 days. In the coming days and weeks, I will carefully review the TPP agreement and give your views strong consideration.
Thank you again for contacting me.
“After voting for TPA, I also voted for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) legislation, which provides essential aid to workers who are displaced by global trade. TAA ensures our workers are skilled and trained, and provided opportunities in an increasingly global economy.” Hmmm. My fellow Americans, I am sure Senator Kaine and other New Democrats mean well. But if we lost a lot less jobs, we would need a lot less re-training, yes?