In a major victory for U.S. manufacturers, President Obama signed two trade bills into law late last month. The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act grants the president trade promotion authority (TPA) to negotiate market-opening free trade agreements and allows for sending them to Congress for an up-or-down vote, without amendment and filibuster. 

The new law applies to trade agreements reached before July 1, 2018, with a possible extension to July 1, 2022. TPA is considered crucial to finalizing the trade agreements currently being negotiated with the Asia Pacific (TPP) and the EU (TTIP). 

The president also signed a bill that includes Trade Adjustment Assistance. This new law, opposed by many Republicans, was  key to Congressional approval of the TPA bill. It provides $450 million for up to 130 weeks of training assistance for manufacturing and other workers who have lost jobs as a result of trade, including those negatively impacted by unfair trade or import surges. Senate Democrats insisted this bill be considered alongside TPA as a condition of their support. 

Much of the credit for these new laws goes to manufacturing advocates from across the country who stood strong throughout a frustrating process in support of fair trade. Your hard work led to this successful outcome.
Export-Import Bank charter expires

Unfortunately, legislation to extend the Ex-Im Bank’s Charter has not made it to the president’s desk, despite its June 30 expiration date. Republicans in Congress are split on the issue; and the debate within the party is intense, with opponents charging that the bank’s financing tools amount to “corporate welfare.” Supporters of the bank, led by Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), recently won a concession from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a vocal opponent, to bring an extension bill to the Senate floor for a vote. In exchange, the Majority Leader got enough GOP support to pass the TPA and TAA bills. House Speaker John Boehner has promised the House will act on Ex-Im after the Senate vote. However, several prominent representatives, including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), whose committee has jurisdiction over Ex-Im, are against reauthorization. 

AMT, as a member of the Coalition for Employment through Exports and the Ex-Im Coalition, is a strong advocate of the Ex-Im Bank as an important tool for U.S. global competitiveness. Please join the Association and make your voice heard on this issue. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support Ex-Im reauthorization. 

August recess reminder

August recess, the annual month-long leave lawmakers take from Washington to visit with constituents back home, begins in a few weeks. Now is the time to look at your calendar and consider scheduling a visit or hosting a plant tour with your elected officials. It’s an opportunity to build important relationships that will give you more insight and input in the legislation process on the issues that ultimately affect your business. 

Find information for contacting your members of Congress on the Advocacy page at or contact me at