NFTC and USA*Engage Release 111th Congressional Report Card on U.S. International Trade, Sanctions

Monday, 25 October 2010

All Members Receive an "Incomplete" for Lack of Action on Trade-Related Policies to Promote Engagement and U.S. Economic Growth

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today released their 111th Congressional Report Card, scoring Members of Congress based on their votes on key international trade and tax policy issues in 2009 and 2010. Unlike previous years, all members of the 111th Congress received an "incomplete" on the Report Card versus letter grades, due to their collective lack of positive action on trade and tax issues critical to U.S. economic growth and job creation.

"While in some respects this Congress has accomplished a great deal, it has not taken much positive action on the U.S. international trade and tax agenda, and its actions on sanctions have been negative. With just five votes to analyze in the House and even fewer in the Senate – only two – it is difficult to assess Members on their records," said NFTC President and USA*Engage Co-Chair Bill Reinsch. "At a time when the U.S. is continuing to experience record unemployment, and the economy, though rebounding, is doing so at a slow pace, it is hard to grapple with the reality that this Congress has not successfully passed trade-related legislation that would help to boost U.S. economic growth, increase exports and create jobs."

The Report Card scored Senators on two votes, including:
 

  • S. AMDT. 634 – A proposed amendment to H.R. 1105 to prohibit the expenditure of amounts made available under this Act in a contract with any company that has a business presence in Iran's energy sector.
  • S. 3816 – Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act (A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to create American jobs and to prevent the off shoring of such jobs overseas.  This legislation was a back door way to end deferral for many companies.)

The highest scorers in the Senate included Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Scott Brown (R-MA), Bob Corker (R-TN), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mark Warner (D-VA).With respect to Members of the House, votes on the following pieces of legislation were considered:

  • H.R. 1886 – Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2009
  • H.R. 2194 – Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010
  • H.R. 4380 – Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (Manufacturing Enhancement Act)
  • H.R. 1586 – FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (This bill increases Medicare funding to states by using international tax provisions.)
  • H.R.2378— Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act

Top scorers included Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX), Ted Poe (R-TX), Tom Price (R-GA), David Reichert (R-WA) and John Shadegg (R-AZ).

"In college, an ‘incomplete' is typically given to students who have failed to complete required coursework but show promise of being able to complete it within a designated time frame," said Reinsch. "That is how we view this Congress, as we are deeply disappointed but hopeful that when Congress returns to Washington after the election, it will take meaningful action on the U.S. trade agenda and avoid further growth-damaging tax legislation. The first three items on that agenda should be approval of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which can't afford to sit on the backburner any longer if our exporters are to remain competitive in those markets.

Please click here to read the 111th 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 Bill about the Report Card, please contact Jennifer Cummings at 202-822-9491.

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