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In a landmark vote, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill won approval in the Senate last week with a broad bipartisan majority of 62 senators (48 Republicans and 14 Democrats) supporting final passage after vigorous debate.
The bill now moves to the House, where leadership indicates TPA and two other trade bills could come up for a vote as soon as the first week of June.
While support for TPA has been growing across the country, neither the business and agriculture community nor the bill’s champions in the House are leaving anything to chance.
So the Chamber is continuing its major education and advocacy push to make the case for renewal of TPA:
- In recent weeks, the Chamber has made the case for TPA in hundreds of meetings with House members in Washington, D.C. At the same time, we’ve held more than 50 events with members of Congress in their congressional districts, with more scheduled this week.
- We’ve organized major trade-focused forums with local partners in two dozen key states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
- U.S. Chamber staff members have provided briefings on TPA to more than 200 state and local chambers of commerce in recent weeks, and those efforts are continuing during the Memorial Day recess.
- Partly as a result of those efforts, nearly 300 state and local chambers of commerce, manufacturing associations, and farm bureaus expressed strong support for TPA in a recent letter. Every state in the union was represented. Many chambers are directly pressing their House delegations to vote for TPA and mobilizing their members to do so as well.
- Our grassroots operation has ratcheted up its outreach to our national federation in recent weeks, and thousands of companies and grassroots activists have sent letters to their members of Congress supporting TPA. The uptick in this letter writing and telephone campaign has been particularly strong in late May and during the Memorial Day recess, with more than 100,000 calls and letters generated or sent to member offices in anticipation of House consideration of the bill.
- With the introduction of the TPA bill in April, the Chamber relaunched its www.TradeSupportsJobs.com website, which shows exports by congressional district and state. Uniquely, it details which manufacturing and services industries are exporting — from which districts and states and to which markets abroad — and how many jobs these exports support.
- The Chamber published a major report entitled The Open Door of Trade: The Impressive Benefits of America’s Free Trade Agreements. This publication, which is arguably the single most comprehensive assessment of the benefits of America’s trade agreements, has been disseminated widely in serial form.
- The Chamber has helped drive the debate on key issues relating to TPA with more than 50 op-eds and blog posts in the year to date. All of these are disseminated widely to press, members and the Hill.
- All of these materials are also disseminated by social media. The Chamber has by far the largest social media footprint of any business group: Since mid-February, the Chamber has generated more than 23 million positive “impressions” on TPA on Twitter, outpacing our most prolific opponent by 10 to 1.
- The Chamber has executed a digital and print ad campaign targeting Capitol Hill, mobilizing small business constituents and explaining the benefits of trade agreements.
In short, we are leaving no stone unturned. On Friday evening, we celebrated TPA’s passage in the Senate for about 10 seconds. We won’t rest until TPA is renewed.