Third Way Partners with Former DNC Chairs to Urge Fellow Democrats to Support Trade Promotion Authority

March 26, 2015

Third Way partnered with former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairs today to urge fellow members of the Democratic Party to support granting President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for a new trade deal to strengthen the middle class and ensure America’s safety and security.

“Third Way is proud to work with these Democratic Party chiefs to promote the benefits of a pro-export agenda that will move America forward,” said Jim Kessler, Senior Vice President for Policy at Third Way. “These Democratic leaders know that modern trade deals create blue collar middle-class jobs because the data is clear. In our recent study, we analyzed all 17 trade deals since NAFTA to see if they improved the U.S. balance of trade in the blue collar goods sector. They did. The U.S. balance of trade in goods improved by more than $30 billion on average every year because post-NAFTA trade deals were negotiated with higher standards. With TPA, there is substantial opportunity to further contribute to America’s economic growth at a time of global economic stagnation.”

"Increasing America’s exports is the best way to create well-paying middle class jobs,” said Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA), one of the former DNC chairs who signed the letter. “During my time as Governor we tripled our exports in 8 years, helping Pennsylvania become the 9th fastest job creating state in the Union in 2010.”

The text of the letter is below:


March 26, 2015

To Fellow Members of the Democratic Party,

As former DNC Chairs, we are proud to be leaders in a Party that seeks to strengthen the middle class and ensure America’s safety and security. To that end, we support granting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to President Obama.

TPA originates from the earliest trade negotiating authority, passed by the New Deal Congress in 1934 and signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During the last four decades Congress has granted every President, Democrat and Republican alike, some version of trade promotion authority. To continue this bipartisan tradition, we stand behind the head of our Party, President Obama, in his quest for long-standing negotiating authority that allows Congress and the Executive branch to work together to pursue trade agreements that benefit Americans across the country.

Moreover, TPA will clear a path for the President to pursue his pro-growth trade agenda—an agenda that will move America forward.

As Democrats, we believe in rebuilding middle class security by putting Americans back to work. America's trade agreements are delivering for middle class families and our economic security. Our seventeen most recent trade agreements have improved the goods trade balance by $30 billion every year—that is some serious progress.

The United States exported $2.35 trillion in Made-in-America goods and services in 2014, our fifth record-breaking year in a row. The increase in U.S. exports has contributed one-third of our economic growth and added $760 billion to our economy between 2009-2014. Most importantly, this economic growth means more jobs and more jobs that pay better. Every $1 billion of U.S. exports supports between 5,400 and 5,900 U.S. jobs, and these jobs pay up to 18 percent more than non-export-related jobs. New trade agreements can make exporting easier and help U.S. small and large businesses reach untapped markets, putting Americans back to work in well-paying jobs.

As Democrats, we believe that America works when everyone plays by the same rules. 95 percent of the world’s population is outside our borders—and this number is only growing—which means that it’s important to set fair rules abroad and at home. Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will level the playing field for American workers and businesses by setting high labor, environmental, and other standards for 11 other countries in Asia-Pacific that make up nearly 40% of the global economy. If we don’t lead in this region, other countries will set weak rules that threaten American jobs and workers.

As Democrats, we believe in strengthening international alliances and advancing universal values. By showing U.S. leadership in the fastest-growing region in the world, we are building ties that have immense strategic importance. We are also promoting our values such as protecting the environment, standing up for workers, supporting innovation and creativity through robust intellectual property rights, increasing transparency and inclusiveness, preserving a free and open internet, expanding access to innovative and generic medicines, and protecting consumers and small business.

No one can argue with the fact that given fair rules and new access, Americans can compete and win in today’s global economy. With TPA, we will move one step closer to bringing the benefits of trade to more Americans and restoring the link between hard work and growing opportunity.


Governor Ed Rendell

Governor Roy Romer

Senator Chris Dodd

Senator Paul Kirk, Jr.

Joe Andrew

Donald Fowler

David Wilhelm

Press Contacts

Ladan Ahmadi

Senior Media Relations Manager



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