NFTC and USA*Engage Release 112th Congressional Report Card on International Trade Issues

Friday, 5 October 2012
Members Receive High Grades for Enacting Trade Legislation Despite Lack of Action on Other Global Commerce Issues Critical to U.S. Business

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today released their 112th Congressional Report Card, scoring Members of Congress based on their votes on key international trade and engagement issues in 2011 and 2012. Unlike the 111th Congress, which collectively received an “incomplete” due to a lack of positive action, the 112th Congress received positive scores – 64 percent of Senators and 43 percent of Representatives received an A or B – for enacting trade legislation critical to U.S. economic growth and job creation. While the House and Senate enacted several important bills, most of them involved either long-pending free trade agreements or reauthorization of existing programs. Congress did not take up any new major trade initiatives.

“Compared to the 111th Congress, the 112th has made significant strides on the trade front over the past two years,” said NFTC President and USA*Engage Co-Chair Bill Reinsch. “Important legislation that had been stalled for more than four years – including the free trade agreements with Colombia, Korea and Panama – was enacted, illustrating that this Congress worked together in a bipartisan manner to advance the U.S. trade agenda, helping to boost U.S. economic growth, increase exports and support American job creation.”

The Report Card scored Senators on eight votes, including:

China Currency Bill: S. 1619, Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011 (On Passage of the Bill)
U.S.-Colombia FTA: H.R. 3078, United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
U.S.-Korea FTA: H.R. 3080, United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
U.S.-Panama FTA: H.R. 3079, United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
Trade Adjustment Assistance: H.R. 2832, Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011
Export-Import Act: H.R. 2072, Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012
Sugar Program Reform Amendment: Amdt. 2433 to S. 3240, Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012
Sugar Program Repeal Amendment: Amdt. 2393 to S. 3240, Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

The highest scorers in the Senate included Sens. John Boozman (R-AR), Dan Coats (R-IN), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Richard G. Lugar (R-IN).

With respect to Members of the House, votes on the following pieces of legislation were considered:

U.S.-Colombia FTA: H.R. 3078, United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
U.S.-Korea FTA: H.R. 3080, United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
U.S.-Panama FTA: H.R. 3079, United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
Trade Adjustment Assistance: H.R. 2832, Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011
Motion to Recommit H.R. 3078: On Motion to Recommit with Instructions: To implement the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement
Iran Sanctions: H.R. 1905, To strengthen Iran sanctions laws for the purpose of compelling Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and other threatening activities, and for other purposes
Export-Import Act: H.R. 2072, Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2011 (On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended)
H.R. 6429: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States, to eliminate the diversity immigrant program, and for other purposes (On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass)

Top scorers included Reps. Bob Dold (R-IL), Doc Hastings (D-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Harold Rogers (R-KY).

“While there were a number of positive trade-related votes, we are disappointed that there has been no action on final approval of legislation granting Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR),” Reinsch continued. “We continue to strongly urge Congress to take action on Russia PNTR immediately when Members return to Washington in November, and we look forward to what should be a heavy trade agenda in 2013.”

Today’s Report Card is being released as an interim report. A final report will be released at the end of the congressional session.

Please click here to read the 112th Congressional Report Card. For more information, visit www.nftc.org and www.usaengage.org.

*NOTE: If you would like additional commentary or an opportunity to speak with NFTC President Bill Reinsch, NFTC Vice President Dan O’Flaherty or USA*Engage Director Richard Sawaya about the Report Card, please contact Jennifer Cummings at 202-822-9491.
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