As the President prepares to visit a key trading partner, Colombia, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Friday regarding the economic benefits of the trade agreements approved by Congress last year and the need to expand normalized trade relations with democratic allies around the globe and re-authorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA):
"The trade agreements we approved last year with Colombia, Panama and South Korea are good news for American businesses looking to expand the market for their goods, and they're good news for all the American workers who benefit when those businesses are able to compete on a level playing field with workers in other countries. The total value of exports just from own my state of Kentucky currently totals more than $20 billion, and that number will only grow thanks to these agreements.
"Senate Republicans are ready to work with the President on an even more robust trade agenda, one which involves expanding access for American goods through new trade agreements and normalized trade relations with our democratic allies around the globe. The first step towards new trade agreements is re-authorizing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Although the administration has finally requested TPA, it did so only after having failed last year to make any effort to rally Senate Democrats to support an amendment that would have granted the administration this authority. Nevertheless, Republicans are ready to act to continue moving the economy forward through increased trade--despite the opposition from so many in his own party."
Sen. McConnell reax to the President's 2010 State of the Union where he mentioned trade agreements:
"The President called for increased exports and for the Congress to pass trade agreements that have languished under the current majority in the Senate. Republicans agree with the need to increase trade and with the need to ratify trade agreements with Colombia and other important trading partners that so far have met resistance on the other side of the aisle."
Sen. Reid (D-NV.) in October on Democrat opposition and Sen. McConnell's efforts to pass the trade agreements:
"Even though, as my friend, the distinguished Republican leader, knows, I did not agree with the trade bills--what they did--I think it is a good sign of our working together."
"I also want the Record to be spread with the fact that as far as congressional action, this legislation would not have happened but for the Republican leader. He has been laser focused for a long time, and there were some things we had to work through to get here, but one of the reasons I did what I did to help move this along is because of his feelings about the importance of this legislation."