As House Prepares to Vote on Trade Promotion Authority, Progressive Leaders From Across the Country Back Free and Fair Trade

WASHINGTON, DC — As the House prepares to vote Friday for Trade Promotion Authority following a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate, the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs today announced that a growing number of progressive leaders have joined the coalition in support of free and fair trade.  The coalition members include current and former Democratic mayors, governors, cabinet officials and members of Congress and reach across all corners of the country.

The announcement of the growing progressive coalition comes as numerous recent polls show progressives support President Obama’s trade agenda.  A recent Pew Research Poll found that six in ten Democrats say trade agreements have been good for the United States, and an NBC News poll showed that Democratic support for free trade has climbed 16 points over the last five years.  PCAJ’s own polling found that 64 percent support giving TPA to President Obama, and that support rises to 78 percent upon hearing how TPA would impact trade agreements.

“We know that 95 percent of the world’s markets are outside of our borders, and we need free and fair trade if we are going to access them.  I’ve seen firsthand in Washington how trade creates good-paying jobs that support communities and grow our economy.  I am proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with progressive leaders from across the country who share in that support for free and fair trade” said former Washington Governor and PCAJ advisory board member Christine Gregoire.

“By passing Trade Promotion Authority, Congress is setting the stage to approve a trade deal that would include unprecedented protections for workers and the environment.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership would extend the reach of labor protections four times, ensuring that workers in member countries have the right to form a union and are assured workplace safety standards.  The pact would also include the most far-reaching environmental standards in history.  The House should act now to pass TPA so that we can ensure that the United States is writing the rules that the world will play by, instead of allowing countries like China to make those decisions in a race to the bottom.”

The latest progressive leaders to join the growing coalition include:

Chris Cabaldon
Mayor, West Sacramento, CA

Michael Coleman
Mayor, Columbus, Ohio

Denny Doyle
Mayor, Beaverton, Oregon

Carol Dutra-Vernaci
Mayor, Union City, CA

Charlie Gonzalez
Former Congressman, Texas

Sam Liccardo
Mayor, San Jose, CA

Ed O’Brien
Mayor, West Haven, CT

Marilyn Strickland
Mayor, Tacoma, Washington

Frederick Sykes
Mayor, West Covina, CA

Previously announced:

Stephen Benjamin   
Mayor, Columbia, S.C.

Phil Bredesen
Former Governor, Tennessee

Bob Buckhorn
Mayor, Tampa

Richard Celeste
Former Governor, Ohio

Jim Doyle
Former Governor, Wisconsin

Jim Florio
Former Governor, New Jersey

Andrew Gillum
Mayor, Tallahassee

Christine Gregoire*
Former Governor, Washington

Jim Hodges
Former Governor, South Carolina

Ron Kirk*
Former U.S. Trade Representative

Gary Locke
Former Governor, Washington

Annise Parker
Mayor, Houston

Deval Patrick*
Former Governor, Massachusetts

Paul Patton
Former Governor, Kentucky

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Mayor, Baltimore

Ed Rendell
Former Governor, Pennsylvania

Bill Ritter
Former Governor, Colorado

Roy Romer
Former Governor, Colorado

R.T. Rybak
Former Mayor, Minneapolis

Kathleen Sebelius
Former Governor, Kansas

Taken together, trade promotion authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would not only shore up the 11.7 million American jobs that are already supported by the export of U.S. goods and services — they would support hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs and set fair rules on wages, workplace safety, and the environment instead of leaving nations like China and others to set weaker standards on their own.

It is estimated that every $1 billion in exports supports between 5,200 and 7,000 jobs in the U.S. TPP countries already employ more than 1.5 million Americans through the export of U.S. goods — and the agreement is expected to support hundreds of thousands of jobs that cannot be outsourced. According to analysis supported by the Peterson Institute, by 2025 TPP is estimated to increase US exports by $123.5 billion.

And because these jobs pay more on average — export jobs pay up to 18 percent more than non-export jobs — workers and their communities will feel the impact of the trade deal in a significant way. By 2025, TPP is projected to account for $77 billion in real income every year. 

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The Progressive Coalition for American Jobs brings together progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers and building a stronger economy for all of us.

For more information, visit pcaj.org.

*Governors Christine Gregoire and Deval Patrick, and Ambassador Ron Kirk are Advisory Board members of the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs