The House Friday afternoon approved the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which would extend trade promotion authority to President Barack Obama, but a key Trade Adjustment Assistance vote failed, hobbling the bill.
Because Trade Adjustment Assistance was voted down 126-302, the bill will not move to the president’s desk until conflicts over TAA are ironed out, according to a statement from the American Soybean Association.
The TAA is a program that provides aid to workers who lose jobs or hours of work due to increased imports, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The Senate approved both TPA and TAA on May 23.
ASA President Wade Cowan noted that though the TAA failed, support was shown for TPA. That provides certainty for soybean producers, he said, but it means nothing if TAA isn’t resolved in a way that allows the bill to move forward.
"The vote by the House today is an absolute win for soybean farmers in the United States, but it only gets us halfway to our goal without a compromise on TAA," he said.
ASA has long promoted the TPA because it provides certainty to trading partners than any trade deal reached – like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example – won't be changed by Congressional amendments upon its consideration in the U.S. legislature.
"TPA has always been step one as we look to forge strong agreements that help to make American agriculture … so competitive in international markets," he said.
The National Corn Growers Association expressed similar discontent with the House votes, calling it a "blow to American Farmers, livestock producers businesses, and workers."
"We hope that both houses of Congress and the White House can quickly resolve their differences and find a path forward. This legislation would bring us one step closer to open markets and greater access to millions of consumers living beyond our borders," NCGA President Chip Bowling said in a statement.