WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday morning, First District Congressman Paul Ryan called in to speak with Charlie Sykes of Newsradio 620 WTMJ about his efforts to help pass trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation through Congress. During the interview, Congressman Ryan explained how TPA allows Congress to hold the president accountable, why we need to open up markets for American-made products, and why trade is so important to Wisconsin’s economic growth.
Listen to the conversation here. Excerpts from Congressman Ryan’s answers follow:
More transparency, more accountability
[TPA] is really not even ‘fast track.’ It’s more like ‘slow track.’ We took over the process to put Congress in charge, to give Congress more control over the executive branch on how they consider these things . . . We’re adding more transparency, more accountability, and we’re putting Congress in charge in the process.
Opening markets for Wisconsin-made products and services
We need to lower barriers to American-made products so that we can sell them overseas. There’s going to be 3.2 billion people in the middle class [in Asia] in fifteen years, a perfect market for Wisconsin manufacturing goods, for our agriculture products, for our services. [Currently] a big company can just outsource jobs and set up a factory in another country to sell to that country. But with a trade agreement, you lower those trade barriers, lower those tariffs, get rid of those non-tariff barriers, so we can make this stuff right here at home in Wisconsin and send it overseas, because we have a trade agreement that allows that to happen. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Why conservatives want TPA
What really matters here is that we get more jobs, higher wages, [and] faster economic growth. Our economy is not growing well at all—it shrank last quarter. The only way—in this day and age, with this president—we can get something that gets our economy growing, and gets America back in a leadership position, is this. And that is why I think you see conservatives—whether it’s Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Red State, National Review—are all saying this is the right thing to do. ‘We’re sorry Barack Obama is president, but this is the right thing to do.’
Trade is good for Wisconsin
Over 700,000 jobs in Wisconsin are tied to trade. We’re a big manufacturing, agricultural state. No state has more workers per capita in manufacturing than Wisconsin. And with manufacturing, we can’t simply produce to sell only to ourselves. We have to produce and export if we want more good jobs that pay better wages. And you have to open up markets to these exports. It’s a billion new customers we’re looking at possibly having in markets that we already getting frozen out of – in markets that we are losing market share and ceding to other countries who will out compete us. That’s what we cannot let happen.