Current Week

TPA 2015

April 23, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

There is no shortage of serious issues that need to be addressed. To me, the most important one that the Congress is teeing up is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch (Utah) and ranking Democrat on that Committee Ron Wyden (Oregon) struck a deal. Now, the Senate and House need to pass TPA and send it to President Obama for his signature.

TPA authorizes the President to negotiate trade agreements. Once they are agreed upon by the other countries, they can then be passed or rejected by our Congress. Amendments to the agreements are not allowed. Take it or leave it!

Although we have not passed TPA, the trade negotiation process is well underway. We are negotiating a Pacific Rim agreement involving 11 countries totaling more than $400 billion in trade; also, a Trans Atlantic agreement between the U.S. and Europe. That would boost world income by more than $100 billion. Trade deals are a way to reduce tariffs and trade barriers. The U.S. agricultural industry would be positioned to expand our market dramatically.

Here is how it works. TPA is passed and signed. Then, the two trade agreements can be completed. They are then voted on separately by our Congress. No amendments are allowed. Other countries would not negotiate in good faith with us if after the deal was agreed to the Congress could change it. It’s pass or fail.

Success is not certain. President Obama really wants this done, but a lot of Democrats are fighting it. Senator Chuck Shumer (New York) – likely to become the Democratic leader of the Senate after the next election – is adamantly opposed to the deal. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” But he has. TPA has been granted to every President going back as far as Gerald Ford. Labor unions are doing all they can to kill the trade deal. On the Republican side, there are some members that don’t want to give President Obama negotiating power. They don’t trust him.

Most Republicans, however, will vote for TPA but they will still need some Democratic votes to get it passed. Farm organizations across the board support the bill – corn, pork, dairy, soy bean, wheat – you name it.

The American Farm Bureau stated, “The U.S. has much to gain through Congressional approval of TPA.”

It’s not done yet. We still need to push it over the goal line.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.

Previous Weeks

Federal Income Taxes

April 16 2015

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Once again – just in time – I paid my federal income taxes. Do we have a good tax system to finance our federal government? I don’t think so. Only 5% of the public say, “It’s working just fine.”

Our Tax Code is too big and…

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California Water

April 9 2015

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Every time I go to California, I marvel at the lush green lawns, the gorgeous golf courses, vegetable crops, and fruit trees – all meticulously well-tended and growing green -- maybe not anymore.

Governor Jerry Brown of…

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Energy Supply

April 2 2015

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What was the biggest thing that happened last year – was it the endless turmoil in the Middle East, or Putin’s incursion into Ukraine, or the price of corn cut in half? None of the above. It was the price of oil cut in half. From…

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Dietary Guidelines – Confused About Caffeine

March 25 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The news wires have been buzzing lately about the recently released scientific report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. One of the hottest topics for discussion is how out of…

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TPA

March 19 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Seven former Secretaries of Agriculture (including yours truly) (Republicans and Democrats) signed a letter supporting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). President Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and the U.S. Trade…

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Farming Contrast

March 12 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I’ve been on my Illinois farm this week. Having been on Cuban farms last week, I can’t help but note the amazing contrast. Just flying into Havana, I observed the plowed fields were red – red soil. Our soil is black. I…

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Cuba

March 5 2015

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And now for today’s commentary—

I am just back from Cuba. I have been in Cuba on two other occasions in years past, and on this visit, I am more encouraged than ever that normal relations are on the way.

Just because President Obama has started the process…

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Dietary Guidelines

February 26 2015

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And now for today’s commentary—

Today, there is growing concern about the food we eat. We have a serious obesity epidemic. What do we do? The new Dietary Guidelines are in the process. President Obama’s appointed Advisory Committee has given their recommendations to…

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Measles, GMs and Science

February 18 2015

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Who would have ever predicted that measles would have been in the headlines day after day? I didn’t think anyone got measles today. Not the case when I was a kid. Everyone had measles and whooping cough and mumps. No big deal. The most…

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Chicken and Eggs

February 12 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The State of California has a reputation for leading in many ways – especially in the area of government regulations. Now, they have bit off almost more than they can chew. Certainly, the poor will not be chewing on many eggs since the…

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