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United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman from Texas.

Madam Speaker, our current economic environment has left millions of Americans without the hope of a brighter future. The constant threat of tax increases and the continued threat of excessive regulations coming from this administration sends the wrong signal to our entrepreneurs, our investors, and our small business people, the very people we need to create jobs. It sends the signal that America is not open for business. And there is a sense that we may be falling behind other nations in the global marketplace.

We face big challenges, but America has always stood up when times were tough. We are a country of entrepreneurs and innovators. Madam Speaker, it is time to energize our small businesses and job creators and get the economy growing again.

When House Republicans released our plan for America's job creators, we outlined our ideas to get our economy back on track, to promote an environment for job creation, and to ensure America remains the land for opportunity without raising taxes or adding to the deficit. And part of that plan was passage of the free trade agreements with Colombia--yes, Panama, and yes, South Korea.

But our support for passing these agreements is not new. On December 22, 2009, I, along with other House Republican leaders, wrote to President Obama outlining what we called the ``No Cost Jobs Plan.'' In that letter, we noted that passage of these trade agreements would, according to experts, increase exports by 1 percent. That 1 percent increase in exports equates to a quarter of a million new jobs. We noted in our letter that the only thing standing in the way of creating those jobs was for the President to submit the trade agreements to Congress for approval. Since then, we have repeatedly called on the President to move forward with these agreements so we can clear the way for thousands of new jobs and create an environment for economic growth. Nearly 2 1/2 years later, on October 3, the President finally submitted all three agreements.

I am glad that the administration has recognized the importance of expanding market access for American companies, both small and large. As majority leader, I introduced all three agreements the very same day the President submitted them, and I am pleased today that the House will approve all three agreements.

By moving forward on these agreements, Madam Speaker, we will help manufacturers in my home State of Virginia and those across the country increase exports and increase production. The more manufacturers produce, the more workers they need, and that means more jobs.

Our action today is proof that when we look for common ground and work together, we can produce results. I'd also like to note that today, Madam Speaker, the House is acting on another bill that is part of the President's jobs plan. The House will pass the VOW Act, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act, to help our soldiers and veterans with the challenges of reentering the workforce.

Madam Speaker, there is no more time to waste. We have said over and over again that we should not let our differences get in the way of producing results, and we want to find common ground so that we can work together to improve the economy. I hope today's action will encourage the Senate and the President to join us in helping to pass these trade agreements and other pro-growth measures to help the American people get back to work.


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