Senate Republicans and agriculture industry leaders held a press conference in Washington today to discuss the ways new trade deals could benefit the agriculture community and urge passage of the bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.
Senators speaking on behalf of TPA included Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). “I am hopeful that the Senate can find a path forward to pass this legislation, which is essential to securing free and fair trade agreements and providing access to new markets for American farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers,” said Sen. Thune in advance of an afternoon vote to proceed with the legislation. “We’re going to have a spirited debate, there are going to be a lot of amendments offered…hopefully we’ll be able to keep it in as close a form as we had coming out of the committee.”The senators were joined by agricultural representatives American Soybean Association First Vice President Richard Wilkins of Delaware, Virginia Cattlemen’s Association President Jeff Slaven, and California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger.
“Last year we had a record $152 billion in exports for American agriculture,” said Wenger, speaking on behalf of American Farm Bureau. “We’re on pace this year to drop back by $9 million because we have not been a part of many agreements going on around the world. If we do not meet the demand, somebody else will meet that demand.”
Listen to comments from all participants here: Senators and ag groups urge TPA passage