Hatch, Wyden, McConnell

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

Senator Hatch: (2:13 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "We're going to be here again in two months facing the exact same problem, because unless someone has $90 billion around, the long-term highway solution isn't going to simply materialize between now and July. Don't get me wrong, fixing it in December was going to be difficult as well, but in the end it will likely take at least that long it find a solution that has a chance of passing through both chambers. The other side's strategy appears pretty transparent. They clearly have two goals in mind. First, they think that if they make Republicans vote on highway funding over and over again, we can be cajoled into accepting their preferred solution, which is a large tax hike. Second, they think that by maintaining a constant state of chaos and uncertainty, they can make the Republican-led Congress look bad or look ineffectual. That first goal is pretty predictable, after all a tax hike is their answer to pretty much every question around here. I hope I'm wrong on the apparent second goal. If I am right, it is just sad."
  • Spoke on the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.
    • "This recognizes a state's right to address hydraulic fracturing and allows them to continue regulating on this issue. Importantly, this legislation does not prevent the Bureau of Land Management from promulgating baseline standards where none exist. As background for over 60 years, states have successfully regulated fracking in a way that protects the environment. In the 1970's hydraulic fracking was being used then but has been brought into a much safer since. The Obama administration has admitted there has never been an example of danger to human health caused by hydraulic fracturing under exist being state regulations and oversight."

 

Senator Hatch: (3:04 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "First, the T.P.A. compact ensures that Congress has a voice in setting trade priorities before a trade agreement is finalized. By setting clear negotiating objectives in a T.P.A. bill, Congress is able to specify what a potential trade agreement must contain in order to gain passage. Second, the compact allows our trade negotiators to deliver on an agreement. As our negotiators work with our trading partners on trade agreements, they need to be able to give assurance that the deal they sign will be the one Congress votes on. They cannot do that without T.P.A. In a sense, without T.P.A., our trading partners are negotiating not only with the professionals at USTR, but also with all 535 members of Congress whose views and priorities may be unknown or even unknowable. Under this scenario, our partners will not put their best efforts on the table because they will have no guarantees that the agreement they reach will remain intact once it goes through Congress. In short, T.P.A. is essential both for the conclusion and passage of strong trade agreements."

 

Senator Wyden: (3:15 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "This is a piece of legislation that's going to drive standards up. I'm going to start outlining the differences between the 2015 T.P.A. package and the 2002 T.P.A. package, and I'm going to start with the requirements for labor, the environment, and affordable medicines. Now, in 2002, there was no requirement for trading partners' laws to comply with core international labor standards. Let me repeat that. In 2002, more than a dozen years ago, there was no requirement for trading partners' laws to comply with core international labor standards. Under the package that Chairman Hatch and I and our colleagues on the Finance Committee have produced, trading partners must adopt and maintain core international labor standards with trade sanctions if they do not comply. Couldn't be more different. The rules from 2002 T.P.A., the rules for 2015 under what Chairman Hatch and I and others in the Finance Committee insisted on. So let's talk about the environment."

 

Senator McConnell: (3:24 PM)

  • Spoke on trade and the Senate schedule.
    • "The senate will finish its work on trade this week. And we will remain in session as long as it takes to do so. I know we became used to hearing these types of statements in the past, but senators should know that I'm quite serious. I would advise against making any sort of travel arrangements until the path forward becomes clear. It is also my intention this week to address the highways issue and to responsibly extend the expiring provisions of FISA. The quickest way to get there would be to cooperate across the aisle so we can pass the trade bill in a thoughtful but efficient manner. I know that members on both sides are going to want a chance to offer amendments to the bill. They should offer amendments. I'm for that. I encourage them to do so, both Republicans and Democrats. Now is the time for senators from both parties to offer those amendments, work with the bill managers to set up the votes."