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Support for renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is growing from coast to coast.
It’s easy to see why. New trade agreements have great potential as a tool to stimulate economic growth and job creation, as the Chamber has explained in detail.
However, to make any growth-driving trade agreements a reality, Congress must first approve TPA.
Business groups representing millions of small businesses have come out in support of TPA. Organizations such as the National Small Business Association and the Small Business Exporters Association have voiced their support.
So have broad groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where small- and medium-size businesses account for more than 95% of all members—as in these testimonials.
Larger companies have weighed in as well. As Politico’s Ben White tweeted shortly after the bill was introduced, “It’s possible I have emails from every large company in America hailing the TPA bill.”
Groups from every state in the union have weighed in. Nearly 300 state and local chambers of commerce, manufacturing organizations, and farm bureaus representing workers, farmers and companies of every size, sector and state sent a letter to Congress on April 21 urging members to vote to renew TPA.
Scores of companies in Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin have weighed in with their congressional delegations, urging them to support TPA.
Major industry groups representing every sector of the U.S. economy support TPA, from the National Association of Manufacturers to the Coalition of Services Industries to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Indeed, American agriculture’s support for TPA has been passionate and outspoken. Just about every major farm and ranch group in the nation, representing growers of everything from apples to zucchini, has called for TPA.
Support for trade among the American public appears to be rising. According to a Gallup poll in March, a majority of Americans (58%) view foreign trade as an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports while 33% view it as a threat to the economy. This is the highest level of support for trade in the two decades Gallup has asked this question.
Further, more than 80% of Americans support the United States negotiating trade agreements to expand market access for U.S. goods and services around the globe, according to a November 2014 poll by the Winston Group for the Business Roundtable.
Support among progressives is substantial: 64% of Democratic voters would support TPA, according to an April poll by the Benenson Strategy Group for the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs. That number increased to 78% when the bill was explained to those being surveyed.
Dozens of conservative groups have expressed support for TPA. Twenty free market, taxpayer advocacy, and limited government grassroots and public policy organizations called for TPA in an April 20 letter. Additional conservative groups ranging from the Tea Party Express to the American Enterprise Institute have urged passage of TPA, as have the American Conservative Union, Citizens for Limited Taxation, Americans for Job Security, the National Taxpayers Union, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (here).
Former officials of both parties have called for TPA in droves. Ten former secretaries of Commerce. Eight former secretaries of Agriculture. Fourteen former chairs of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Four former heads of the Small Business Administration.
The lists go on and on, and the broad show of support is welcome—and needed. Congress will take up TPA on the floor of the House and Senate soon. It’s time to act.