Without promises from House and Senate leadership that the Export-Import Bank will not be reauthorized, Heritage Action is urging Republicans to vote against a top Obama trade agenda item.
The conservative group is warning that it will be scoring the upcoming vote on whether to provide President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals.
“Absent ironclad public commitments from Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that the Export-Import Bank will not be reauthorized, Heritage Action will key vote against H.R. 1314,” the group warns.
Heritage Action argues that while it supports trade, the recent effort has become another vehicle for welfare spending.
“The bill combines President Obama’s request for fast track authority or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with a stimulus-level extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and, as mentioned above, has become inextricably linked to the passage of the Export-Import Bank,” Heritage Action explains.
“Free trade benefits the economy and all Americans. Congress should not shy away from promoting free trade at every opportunity. However, The Heritage Foundation’s Ambassador Terry Miller says this particular ‘TPA has gotten bogged down in the politics of protectionism and welfare spending,’” it adds.
The group stresses that it is a “free trade organization” but that the addition of TAA makes support for TPA even tougher for conservatives. In the end they are calling for conservatives to oppose the bill, H.R. 1314, and warn it will be included as a “key vote” in their legislative scorecard.
“Heritage Action has always been a free trade organization, but free-market conservatives are understandably split on this president’s request for fast track authority,” the group explains.
Including an egregiously ineffective welfare program in a bill intended to promote trade and promising a clear path forward on the Export-Import Bank, which is the antithesis of free trade, only exacerbates those concerns. The Trade Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314) is no longer a bill intended to advance free trade — it has become a special interest boondoggle that deserves defeat.
The House is expected to vote on the bill Friday.