(April 16, 2015)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (April 16, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called the introduction of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill today a one way ticket to bigger trade deficits, more lost jobs and more economic devastation to America’s family farmers and ranchers.

“TPA is just the continuation of the same old thing, trade agreements that make huge promises of prosperity and jobs to the American public and deliver nothing but bigger deficits, exported jobs and lost domestic agricultural sales,” said Johnson, whose organization has long opposed TPA.

TPA — also known as “Fast Track”— grants the administration the ability to negotiate trade deals and only allows Congress to have an up or down vote on the final package, regardless of how many objectionable provisions it contains. The bill was introduced today by Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, in the U.S. Senate, and a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representative was introduced by Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.

TPA has drawn heavy criticism from both sides of the aisle because it forces Congress to all but remove itself from the trade negotiation process, a constitutional duty that many in Congress take very seriously. “Any trade deal that the United States signs should ensure that it will reduce our trade deficit, protect American workers and forbid trading partners from dancing around the negotiated rules and manipulating their currencies to gain an unfair advantage over us,” noted Johnson.

Johnson noted that the U.S. trade deficit for last year totaled over $500 billion and these agreements will only add to that number, which is a net drag on our economy by a full 3 percent. “We favor a trade policy that prioritizes domestic food production and goods supply chains in lieu of policies that put family farmers and ranchers out of business and send some of our best jobs, and the dreams of America’s middleclass, overseas,” he said.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.