Why Isn’t the White House Doing More To Advance Free Trade?
July 26, 2021
Tori K. Smith, Anthony B. Kim
RIP, Trade Promotion Authority. The law that allowed Congress to fast-track consideration of trade agreements expired on July 1. Trade agreements will now be subject to regular order in Congress, making it more difficult for the Biden administration to enter any new pacts.
Not that the administration seems concerned about it. President Joe Biden never bothered to formally request a renewal of Trade Promotion Authority, a customary act for past administrations. His inaction signals that trade agreements are not even on the agenda.
Congress can, of course, advance a new TPA bill (which should include robust reforms to the process) without an ask from the White House. But even if they did, it’s not clear that the president would use the authority. Last December, Biden declared, “I’m not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers and in education.” Not much incentive for congressional action in that statement.