Grassley, Cornyn, Shaheen, Heitkamp, Enzi, Schatz

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

Senator Grassley: (11:10 AM)

  • Spoke on energy.
    • "According to the U.S. Energy Administration, if ethanol yields per bushel had remained at the 1997 levels, it would have required 343 million bushels or 7% more corn to produce the same amount of fuel last year. That corn would have required the U.S. of 2.2 million additional acres or approximately half of the state of New Jersey, just to keep up when we had the inefficient production of ethanol. Home-grown biofuels are extending our fuel supply and lowering prices at the pump for consumers. Biofuels account for 10% of our transportation fuel today. This economic activity supports American farmers, rural economies, keeps the money at home rather than sending it abroad. In recent years, our national security and economic well-being has been too dependent on oil imports."

 

Senator Cornyn: (11:27 AM)

  • Spoke on ISIL.
    • "I hope president Obama will provide us with a strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL. In Ramadi, the major city and capital of Iraq's largest province, we see much more than a symbolic setback, and I believe Chief of Staff Dempsey wishes he could take those words back when he called it merely symbolic. We see a dangerous development and a great obstacle to a more stable Iraq and thus a more stable Middle East. But this is what gets to me. We had more than a thousand brave American troops die in Anbar province during combat operations since 2003. And I don't want to see their lives having been given in vain and squandered. So I hope this is a wake-up call to the Obama administration and that they will provide the Congress and the American people and our troops a clear path forward to defeat ISIL and to rid the world of this terror army."

 

Senator Shaheen: (11:36 AM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "T.A.A., a program that helps workers laid off by impact of trade because some House conservatives didn't support Trade Adjustment Authority, workers being retrained when they are affected by trade agreements. We spent months and months and months because some conservatives in the House don't believe in government and don't believe in something called this program that helps supported laid-off workers. Then we had to spend weeks and weeks and weeks out here because people on the other side of the aisle, again, at the behest of conservatives in the House didn't want to support enforcement. And now we're at this juncture because, again, the same conservatives, because of an ideological belief by the Heritage Foundation, not something about business and labor, actually business and labor support export tools like a credit agency that helps them sell their products, again this conservative group is holding up trade legislation because they don't think it meets their political standards."

 

Senator Heitkamp: (11:41 AM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "We know where the highest quality producer of agricultural products, many of them grown in my great state of North Dakota, but yet we don't have access to that market because Cuban purchasers don't have access to credit. So unfortunately under the current regulations, our government's erected a trade barrier. And so while we talk about T.P.A., Trade Promotion Authority, and increasing export opportunities, we need to look here right now at what we can do to increase our opportunity for our own producers. It takes no long, drawn-out negotiation and costs no money, and it just makes sense. And so I would urge my colleagues to join with me and Senator Boozman in this important effort to remove our self-imposed trade barriers on our agricultural producers and to allow a private investment and sponsorship of the purchase of agricultural products in Cuba."

 

Senator Enzi: (11:47 AM)

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "That would meet the two-thirds requirement under article 5 of the constitution and force Congress to take action on a balanced budget amendment.  If this happened, one of the most important functions of Congress, the power of the purse, would be drastically curtailed because there would be a new constitutional limit on what Congress would be allowed to borrow. I mentioned before I think we've been overspending. We're scheduled to overspend by $468 billion this year. How much do we get to actually make decisions on? $1100 billion. If we were to balance the budget we would have to do a 50% cut in everything we do. And that's without an increase in interest rates. In conclusion, Americans are working harder than ever to make ends meet. Shouldn't their elected officials be willing to work harder, too? We need to pass a balanced budget as an important step, but not just a first step, and, unfortunately, that was the easy part."

 

Senator Schatz: (12:04 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Studies not have been able to show a significant correlation between investor protections and the level of foreign investment in that country. Instead of driving decisions to invest, ISDS provisions are being manipulated by multinational corporations. Some companies seem to be setting up complex corporate structures explicitly for the purpose of taking advantage of existing ISDS provisions. This is what Australia is alleging that Philip Morris did to challenge Australia's tobacco laws. Philip Morris Hong Kong entity bought shares in Philip Morris' Australian entity 10 months after Australia announced plain packaging rules. It seems Philip Morris did this for no other purpose than to gain access to the ISDS provision in the Hong Kong-Australia bilateral investment treaty. ISDA is just another arrow in the quiver of legal options available to multinational corporations and no other entity or person. The consequences for public health, safety, and the environment far outweigh any real or imagined benefit of ISDS. And for these reasons I oppose fast-track and any trade agreement that contains an ISDS provision."