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Congressman Dennis A. Ross (R-FL), Chairman of the Federal Workforce, Postal Service & Labor Policy Oversight Subcommittee and member of the Republican Study Committee, is circulating a letter to House Republican leadership asking them to refuse to allow American jobs to be held hostage while the President plays politics with jobs.
In light of today's abysmal jobs report, and with continuing uncertainty in the economy, the passage of these Free Trade Agreements is even more vital.
Due to recent reports indicating that the White House will not submit to Congress pending trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea, or Panama for approval until a deal with Congress to renew expanded "trade adjustment assistance" (TAA) benefits is set in place, Congressman Ross, with the support of conservative, pro-growth, and free market organizations on and off Capitol Hill, began urging House Republican leadership to stand firm for American workers rather than Chinese bankers.
In supporting this letter to the Speaker and Majority Leader, Heritage Action today said, "President Obama and the left are currently holding three free trade agreements hostage in order to force conservatives to accept more welfare spending. At stake are trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama that will create jobs right here in America. Rep. Dennis Ross is circulating a letter calling for the elimination of TAA and the passage of these trade agreements on their own merit. If Congress and this administration are truly dedicated to creating jobs and eliminating waste, this is the perfect start. TAA needs to expire, and these free trade agreements need to be ratified."
Heritage Action went on to urge their supporters to, "Take action now to help us achieve this goal: urge your Representative to support Rep. Ross's letter, demand votes that will help create jobs, and reject more welfare spending."
In addition to Heritage Action, the Club for Growth has come out in support of Congressman Ross' letter. Andy Roth, VP of Governmental Affairs for the Club stated, "The Club for Growth is opposed to the Obama Administration's plan to not submit the three pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama for approval until Congress renews the expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance program (TAA)." In referring Congressman Ross' letter, Mr. Roth said, "we strongly urge all members to support the letter."
In commenting on the need for this letter, Congressman Ross said, "According to the American Association of Port Authorities, cargo movement accounts for 13 million U.S. jobs and international trade accounts for over 25% of our GDP. In addition, each $ 1billion in additional exports creates roughly 15,000 jobs for Americans. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the three pending trade agreements would increase U.S. exports by at least $13 billion and create more than 200,000 American jobs. In the Port of Tampa which is a stone's throw from my district, trade with Panama and Columbia alone accounts for almost 2.5 million tons of cargo. Additional trade due to these agreements will not only bring trade jobs to Tampa, but will improve the bottom line for businesses and ports across the country."
In addressing the politics behind TAA, Congressman Ross said, "It is near impossible to determine whether someone lost their job due to free trade. I firmly believe more jobs in America are lost due to the current imbalance of trade that places American products and American workers at a disadvantage, then are lost to free trade. A government handout, borrowed from China, as a bone to Big Labor, won't create a single job and is a needless distraction. Perhaps the President can explain to 200,000 Americans who would have jobs due to these agreements why he is preventing their employment. For me, I challenge the President to tell Florida's farmers, bio-fuel producers, and ranchers why he wants to prevent them from growing American jobs."