After years of delay, the White House has sent three trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress.
“These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America,” President Obama said in a written statement.
The president, who has called for passing the trade pacts as part of his economic agenda, has argued that the agreements would spur job growth and boost U.S. exports by $13 billion annually, with the Korea agreement alone possibly increasing exports of U.S. goods by up to $11 billion.
Progress toward passing the deals stalled in recent months as the White House and House Republicans differed on aid for workers. The White House sought to ensure that a measure to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers was attached to the three accords.
“We’ve worked hard to strengthen these agreements to get the best possible deal for American workers and businesses, and I call on Congress to pass them without delay, along with the bipartisan agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance that will help workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition,” Obama said.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said today the trade deals will be a “top priority” in the House and that members intend to vote on them in tandem with the Senate-passed TAA legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he plans to introduce the bills tonight.