With the vote on Trade Promotion Authority expected in the US Senate this week, the Indiana Soybean Alliance is urging its members to press Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly to vote in favor of the legislation. In a note to ISA members this week, ISA said, “It is critical for all ISA members to call Senator Donnelly’s office right away at (202) 224-4814 and ask him to support Trade Promotion Authority!” Senator Donnelly previously voted no on this bill, and ISA said, “We need all farmers to step up and tell him how important trade is for Indiana farmers.”
Trade Promotion Authority outlines goals for the current and next President in any trade deals with other countries. It allows Congress to take an up-or-down vote on any final trade deal. Currently, the U.S. is negotiating a major trade deal with Pacific countries called the Trans Pacific Partnership. TPP would create new demand for the crops and livestock grown in Indiana.
On his web page Donnelly states, “I oppose fast track authority because, as a United States Senator, I was elected to fight for the interests of my state—including fair trade agreements that benefit Hoosier workers. My amendments would provide trade negotiators with important information on the potential negative impacts foreign trade can have on American wages and industries.”
According to ISA, trade is good for Indiana farmers, “In 2013, Indiana farmers exported $1.7 billion of soybeans, $442 million of soybean meal, $429 million in feeds and fodder, $410 million of corn and $307 million of pork. And every dollar of agricultural export creates an additional $1.27 in business activity for our economy.”
When Donnelly voted NO last month, the legislation contained both TPA and TAA provisions. The bill now before the Senate only contains TPA. It is unclear if this change will change the Senator’s position. “We’re almost to the finish line, but we need to flip Senator Donnelly from a ‘no’ to a ‘yes,'”said ISA.