National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson this week said the NFU is opposed to language introduced by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., that would authorize the Trade Promotion Authority, allowing trade agreements to move through Congress without amendments.
"We oppose fast-track negotiating authority for the president," Johnson confirmed in a released statement. He said previous trade deals have let farmers, consumers and workers down, and the trend shouldn't continue.
"Trade agreements must be a fair deal for all parties – farmers, workers, and consumers, both in the United States and abroad. Previous trade deals haven’t lived up to this standard, so Congress should have full opportunity to review and amend provisions of a trade agreement, consistent with the U.S. Constitution," Johnson said.
The TPA grants the president the authority to negotiate all terms of trade deals and would pave the way for a fast conclusion and approval of pending trade deals, like the Trans Pacific Partnership.
According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the TPA requires the Executive Branch to seek input from Congress before, during and after negotiations. It also allows Congress to specify negotiating objectives that the Executive Branch must pursue.
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Johnson, however, said this policy does not provide substantial Congressional oversight – and there are several matters that require special consideration by Congress in the realm of trade.