FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
WASHINGTON (Jan. 13, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson voiced opposition today to a bill, introduced last week by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., that would allow trade agreements to move through Congress with limited debate and without amendments.
“We oppose fast-track negotiating authority for the president,” said Johnson. “Trade agreements must be a fair deal for all parties – farmers, workers, and consumers, both in the United States and abroad. Previous trade deals haven’t lived up to this standard, so Congress should have full opportunity to review and amend provisions of a trade agreement, consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”
If passed by Congress, the Baucus-Camp bill would grant the president the authority to negotiate all terms of trade deals and would pave the way for a fast conclusion and approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, without substantial Congressional oversight.
“It is imperative for our negotiators to focus on the huge U.S. trade deficit,” said Johnson. “Just increasing exports, while increasing imports at even faster rates, is a recipe for continued and even larger trade deficits, which have a negative effect on U.S. growth, jobs and our standard of living. Currency manipulation must be effectively dealt with, or any minor advantages gained in other parts of the agreements can be easily and rapidly outweighed by manipulated currency values.”
“In order to ensure these important matters are considered, Congress must have a real say in the process,” Johnson continued. “I urge lawmakers to join with NFU and continue to speak up in opposition to fast-track authority.”
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.