September 07,2011

Press Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515

Hatch Urges President to Send Job-Creating Trade Pacts to Congress

Utah Senator Says, “The fact is, Mr. President, Congress can’t act until you send them to us.”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined a group of Republican Senators in calling on President Obama to submit the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to Congress for a vote.

Senator Hatch was joined by U.S. Senators  Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Rob Portman, (R-Ohio), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Roy Blunt( R-Mo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) at an event earlier today.
 Below, is the full text of Senator Hatch’s remarks:

Good morning. These trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama were finished over four years ago.  They’re a boon to our economy to the tune of $12 billion in exports with 70,000 in new jobs from the Korea agreement alone. 

The President is going to lay out a so-called jobs plan on Thursday night, saying that anyone who disagrees with his failed economic approach is putting “politics before country.” 

Well Mr. President, you can put our economy, our country, our workers before politics by sending up these trade agreements that will pass Congress with strong bipartisan support.  The fact is, Mr. President, Congress can’t act until you send them to us. 

This Administration’s lack of a real trade agenda is a tremendous disappointment. 

The fact is, President Obama is still riding on the work of the prior administration. These three agreements were negotiated under the Bush Administration using Trade Promotion Authority that expired in 2007. 

Once Congress eventually passes these three agreements, the Administration can do little more to enact future trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, unless the White House starts aggressively working to renew TPA. 

Bottom line – let’s pass these trade agreements, and once they are passed, let’s move forward with an aggressive trade agenda that opens markets to US products, creates jobs and grows our economy.