by Michael Stumo
Good news... Rep Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) announced her opposition to TPP last week. It shows that our CPA strategy to work with state and local trade associations is working. Stefanik was a member of the Bush 43 White House. She directed debate prep for Paul Ryan as Romney's VP candidate. She is... establishment. She now joins nine other GOP members who voted for Fast Track trade authority but have publicly announced opposition to the TPP. (There are more GOP members opposed but not yet publicly).
Stefanik was one of only three NY GOP reps that voted with Paul Ryan for Fast Track last year. Retiring Rep Richard Hanna (R-NY-22) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23) were the others. Getting Stefanik is important. Reed (a member of Ways and Means and the GOP whip team) announced TPP opposition in late 2015. Hanna has told CPA that he still favors TPP but may not favor a lame duck vote.
CPA had a big role in helping Stefanik switch to the right side of this issue. CPA member associations in NY state include the Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Assn, the Manufacturing Assn of Central New York and the Buffalo-Niagara Manufacturing Alliance. They form a large part of the statewide group, The Manufacturing Alliance, that represents all manufacturing in New York.
CPA worked with the Manufacturing Alliance to send a July 12, 2016 letter to Stefanik asking that she oppose a TPP vote in the lame duck session. We did have inconclusive meetings with Stefanik's office educating staff about the TPP.
It worked. She told a local paper that she opposes the TPP "in its current form". Yes, there is a loophole there, but not a loophole relevant to 2016. We'll take it... for now.
The next step is balanced trade as a national goal.