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President Sends FTA's to Congress

President Sends FTA's to Congress

It's now up to Congress to act on the trade agreements.

After five years of political fighting and bickering, today President Barrack Obama sent the pending Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama to Congress, drawing much praise and support from agricultural organizations and members of Congress.

Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., former Secretary of Agriculture who was in that post when these agreements were signed, praised the move. Also commending the President for taking the action was Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

"As I've said for some time, Washington must work together if we're going to get Americans back to work," Blunt said. "That's why I'm pleased the White House has agreed to send Congress these job-promoting trade deals, which have garnered strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill."

Although Johanns was pleased that the agreements have been sent to Congress, he says when they will come to the floor for consideration is in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. There is some uncertainty as to when he will move the implementing legislation for ratification.

Across the way in the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says that ratification of these trade agreements will be the top priority and that he plans to schedule votes consecutively and in tandem with the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill. TAA has been a major stumbling block for the agreements, as the Administration has refused to send them to Congress until they were assured that TAA would be approved.

"While the delay was unacceptably long and likely cost jobs, I am pleased the Obama Administration has finally done its part and sent these important trade pacts to Congress," Boehner, said. "Expanding markets for American small businesses and manufacturers is a critical component of the Republican Plan for America's Job Creators. These three trade agreements will support American jobs and help create opportunities to expand for American businesses. I look forward to seeing them passed, as well as beginning the important task of working with the administration to further expand America's trade agenda."

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