McConnell, Grassley, Hatch, Fischer, Portman, Sullivan

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

Senator McConnell: (5:49 PM)

  • Spoke on the schedule.
    • "I'm sure everybody is interested in the state of play, and Chairman Hatch and Senator Wyden are meeting off the floor to try to identify a path forward. We'd like to get more amendments pending and set some votes for later this evening. I hope we'll have an update from the bill managers here shortly, but I want to remind everybody we're going to finish this bill before we leave. We're going to deal with FISA and we're going to deal with highways. There's a path forward if people want to take it that could complete all of this work at a reasonable time probably sometime tomorrow, or we can make it difficult, but the end won't change. And so I would just encourage at least some level of cooperation here because we're doing T.P.A., we're doing FISA and we're doing highways."


Senator Grassley: (5:52 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I also oppose countries tilting the field in their favor through actions like undervaluing their currency. And underdeveloped currency makes export goods cheaper from the country with the cheaper currency and makes it harder for consumers in that country to purchase foreign goods, including our agricultural products. I support addressing currency manipulation in our trade agreements. I have watched administrations of both political parties put their heads in the sand on this issue. Everyone opposes currency manipulation, yet little seems to get done about it. This Trade Promotion Authority bill represents the modern realities that we face from the global economy that need to be addressed by our trade negotiators."


Senator Hatch: (6:06 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "The bill also requires the elimination of price controls and reference pricing which are used by many countries to deny full market access to innovative pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The bill further includes a new provision to direct the U.S. negotiators to ensure that regulatory reimbursement regimes that make pricing and reimbursement decisions are transparent, provide procedural fairness, are nondiscriminatory and provide full market access for innovative pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Our bill also calls for the elimination of measures that require U.S. companies to locate their intellectual property a broad as a market access or investment condition. Finally, this legislation includes an expanded capacity building objective directing the administration to work with U.S. trading partners to strengthen not only their labor laws - as was provided for in 2002 - but also their intellectual property rights laws. Once again, we live in an economic and technological environment that is very different from the one that existed in 2002. Advances in internet and mobile technologies have transformed whole sectors of our economy."


Senator Fischer: (6:19 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "As such, revenues should help provide a long-term solution to highway funding, not just a one-time jump-start or shot in the arm, as some people have suggested. This proposal is a long-term solution. It's a solution to issues that have plagued our nation's roads for decades. Individual states must have the flexibility to address the unique needs of their local communities. In order to address the transportation challenges facing our nation, we need to have more options available. Although this plan does not address the immediate challenges facing the highway trust fund, it does represent a way to infuse new money into our nation's transportation system. While it's offering states new solutions to get transportation projects up and running."


Senator Portman: (6:29 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I hope the underlying legislation passes but I hope it passes with these improvements to ensure that we do have a balance here. That we are able to tell our farmers and our workers and our service providers, you're going to have the opportunity now to access 95% of the consumers who are outside the borders of the United States of America. That's a good thing. More jobs and higher-paying jobs, paying on average 15% to 18% more. Better benefits. But also by entering into these agreements, we're going to have more fairness for you so you can get a fair shake and be able to do what you want to do, which is to be able to compete in this global marketplace and be able to ensure that that competition will be fair."


Senator Sullivan: (6:44 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "The current T.P.A. bill has negotiating objectives for a lot of important industries in our great country. Textile, agriculture, services, manufactured goods. There's about 20 specific trading negotiating objectives that the T.P.A. bill directs the U.S. trade representative to get in terms test free trade agreements he will try to seek once T.P.A. has been passed. And this is the way it should be. Those are all great sectors. Agriculture, hugely important to our country, but we should also have a similar negotiating objective for another very important industry in this country. Our seafood industry, the fishing industry. So, this is a simple amendment. It asks that the U.S. trade negotiator focus as a principal objective to make sure that this industry has opportunities, just like all the other industries do, and importantly particularly as we're trying to work through this bill to see what amendments we can get on it."