Brown, Franken, Tillis, Manchin, Warren (UC), Hatch

Vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority (H.R. 1314)

Senator Brown: (2:02 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "You will hear China uses an example because its economy, obviously, is so large. It passed Japan as the world's second largest economy, I believe, a year or so ago, and we just want to make sure that our integrity and the integrity of these 12 countries, 11 other countries is preserved, and the way to do that and the public to be heard is that countries, that Congress has to make the decision on whether or not another country can join. So that's what our so-called docking amendment does. A couple of other things. This amendment is in no way meant to kill T.P.P. or T.P.A. it simply spells out the process for future countries to join. Here's exactly how the process would work. The president would notify Congress about intent to enter the negotiations that would require certification from the two committees: Ways and Means in the House and finance in the Senate, then it would ultimately come to a Senate vote."


Senator Franken: (2:05 PM)

  • Spoke on the USA Freedom Act.
    • "I am committed to pressing my colleagues to revisit this issue in the future, hopefully before the sunset of section 702 in 2017. That, of course, is the internet traffic of foreign persons abroad who are suspected of being terrorists. But in the meantime, the good news is that after all the give and take, our provisions that did get included in the bill will usher in a new era of transparency about our nation's surveillance agencies. This will allow the public to see on an annual basis whether the government really makes good on its promise to end bulk collection. And they will give those of us in Congress important tools as we work to continually improve our country's laws. The transparency provisions are an essential part of U.S.A. Freedom, and the bill overall is a step in the right direction for reforming our nation's surveillance laws. It is a step that the House has already taken on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. This is a step that the Senate should take as well."


Senator Tillis: (2:19 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I've had a discussion with a number of members on the other side of the aisle, they share our concerns, and we're all working trying to simply get the answers. So what my amendment does is until we get the answers, until we solve this problem, we want to suspend the travel for all D.H.S. employees to government conferences and symposiums until the agency provides more transparent data as to how the H2B program is being administered for this year and the previous three fiscal years. I want answers and action. We have businesses in North Carolina and across the country in the coastal states that need these workers, and we want answers now."


Senator Manchin: (2:24 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Our bill that we will be asking for consideration would simply require the president to release the scrub bracketed text of any trade agreement at least 60 days before Congress would grant the fast-track authority. That's pretty sensible, pretty reasonable. Just release the scrubbed document that you have agreed on so far 60 days before you ask us to give the fast-track agreement. Before any member of Congress is asked to vote on the most expansive trade bill in U.S. history the American people deserve to see what is in the bill. And that's why they elect us. To make sure that we're able to confer with them, have a dialogue and explain why we are or why we may not be for a certain piece of legislation, especially a trade agreement. If this bill is as good for the American worker as proponents claim, then the administration and anybody else should not be objectionable to let the American worker see the details before congress is forced to grant the president Trade Promotion Authority."


Senator Warren: (2:29 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "That's why I've introduced a simple bill with my friend from West Virginia, Senator Manchin. This bill would require the president to publicly release the scrubbed bracketed text of a trade deal at least 60 days before Congress votes on any fast-track for that deal. That would give the public, the experts, the press an opportunity to review the deal. It would allow for some honest public debate, and it would give Congress a chance to actually step in and block any special deems and giveaways that are being proposed as part of this trade deal before congress decides whether to grease the skids to make that deal the law. If this trade deal is so great, if it will work so well for America's workers and small businesses, then make it public."
  • Unanimous Consent –
    • The Finance Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. 1381, a bill to require the President to make the text of trade agreements available to the public in order for those agreements to receive expedited consideration from Congress.
    • The Senate proceed to its immediate consideration of S. 1381.
    • The Senate pass S. 1381.
  • (Senator Hatch objects)


Senator Hatch: (2:36 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Under our bill, the full text of the completed trade agreement must be made public at least 60 days before the president can even sign it. And giving the American people unprecedented access of all trade agreements before they are signed and well before they are submitted to Congress. In addition, the president must submit to Congress the legal text of a trade agreement and a statement of administrative action at least 30 days before submitting an implementing bill. On top of that, our bill ensures that any member of Congress who wants access to the unredacted negotiating text at any time during the negotiations will get it. In addition, members of Congress will once again at any time during the negotiations be able to request and receive a briefing from the United States trade representatives office on the status of the negotiations. Our bill also creates in statute a transparency officer at USTR that will consult with Congress and advise USTR on transparency policies. This will help ensure there are consistent transparency policies across the agency and promote greater public understanding of trade negotiations."