March 22,2001

Grassley Comment on Fast Track Legislation

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, made the following commenton Sen. Pat Roberts’ legislation to renew the President’s fast track trade negotiating authority.

“I welcome Senator Roberts’ effort to focus the Senate’s attention on the importance ofrenewing the President’s trade negotiating authority this year. As I’ve said many times, thePresident’s lack of trade negotiating authority harms the vital national interests of the United States,because it undermines our credibility at the negotiating table. This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s anAmerican issue. Whether farmers and business people have greater access to world markets, whichwe can win at the negotiating table only if our trading partners take us seriously, directly affects thejobs and livelihoods of all Americans. We have to get trade negotiating authority renewed this yearso we can give our economy a much-needed boost of confidence.

“This is a top priority for me this year. I’m committed to working on a bipartisan basis tomake sure this gets done. I’m open to any reasonable proposal. I suggest one place to start is thevery reasonable 1988 legislation renewing the President’s trade negotiating authority, which wasapproved by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 85-11 vote in the Senate. This legislation met the criteriaI want to see. It took a comprehensive approach to negotiations. It renewed the President’snegotiating authority for a reasonable length of time. It covered both multilateral and bilateralnegotiations. It set forth a number of specific negotiating objectives, and required the President totell Congress exactly what progress was made in achieving those objectives.

“I look forward to working with Senator Roberts, and all members of the Senate, in writinglegislation we can send to the President this year.”