With Senate approval, ag groups ready to see TPA finalized

With Senate approval, ag groups ready to see TPA finalized

Senate vote on Trade Promotion Authority authorizes measure until 2018

The Senate on Wednesday voted 60-38 to approve Trade Promotion Authority, a measure that gives the President greater negotiating powers on trade deals. With the Senate vote, the bill moves to the President's desk.

Related: Politics get in way of trade

Ag groups quickly supported the move, citing potential expansion of ag exports as TPA could facilitate key trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Senate vote on Trade Promotion Authority authorizes measure until 2018 (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

"Today is a huge victory for America's corn farmers and the entire agricultural industry," said Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer and president of NCGA. "Ag exports are a major driver of the U.S. economy, supporting more than one million jobs. With greater market access, American farmers and ranchers can do even more."

Livestock groups also praised the measure, with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association suggesting its ability to solidify trade deals will lead to even greater access to foreign markets for cattle producers.

NCBA President Philip Ellis said the industry exported $7.1 billion worth of U.S. beef in 2014, a portion of that in variety meats that have very limited value in the U.S.

"As the demand for U.S. beef continues to grow around the world, the future success of the beef industry rests in our ability to meet foreign demand without inference of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers," Ellis said. "With TPA passed, the U.S. can focus on finalizing trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will give us greater access to consumers throughout the Pacific Rim."

The House last week approved the TPA bill with a 218-208 vote, but not before a bit of political wrangling caused the TPA to be separated from a Trade Adjustment Assistance measure. President Obama has previously indicated TAA will be required for his signature on the bill.

TAA provides aid to workers who lose jobs or hours of work due to increased imports, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. House members failed TAA in effort to sink the whole TPA package last week, but after the Senate's latest trade package approval, another House vote on TAA is expected.

According to Roll Call, the House is likely to consider TAA next Thursday, and will have the support of Speaker of the House John Boehner R-Ohio, as well as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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