Obama signs bills supported by Tiberi
By Samuel Votaw THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
WASHINGTON — With Rep. Pat Tiberi joining the East Room ceremony, President Barack Obama signed into law on Monday a bill that provides him with the “fast-track” authority he sought in negotiating a free-trade agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific-rim nations.
With Obama hailing the bill as a “true bipartisan effort,” he thanked Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, for guiding the measure through a tumultuous journey in Congress.
“And it’s a reminder of what we can get done — even on the toughest issues — when we work together in a spirit of compromise,” Obama said. “I hope we’re going to be able to summon that same spirit on future challenges.”
In addition, Obama signed a companion bill that provides financial assistance to workers who can demonstrate they lost their jobs because of international trade.
The worker bill provides a tax credit allowing thousands of Delphi Automotive salaried retirees in Ohio who are not yet eligible for Medicare to buy health insurance, and gives the federal government greater authority to retaliate against nations dumping steel in the United States.
“These laws put us on the path to negotiating strong trade agreements that will break down barriers for American businesses to reach customers overseas,” Tiberi, who is chairman of a House trade subcommittee, said in a statement.
Declaring American “workers are the real winners here,” Tiberi said “the world will soon see that American products and services are second to none, leading to business growth and encouraging job creation for American workers.”
Boehner, who did not attend the ceremony because he is traveling outside the country, said in a statement the trade authority bill “will expand free trade, creating more jobs, better pay, and more opportunities for American workers, farmers and small businesses.”
If concluded, the agreement would create one of the largest free-trade zones in the world and would include Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. The world’s second-largest economy, China, would not be part of the proposed trade zone. [email protected]