WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today called on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid, D-Nev., to act on four things that would make an immediate, positive impact on our economy: passage of trade promotion authority, approval of the Keystone pipeline, reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act.
Isakson made the following remarks on the Senate floor:
“The president has talked a lot about how he wants to create more jobs and how he can do this with the stroke of his pen. In response to these claims, I have several items for President Obama’s suggestion box that he and the Senate Democrats can act on to make a real and immediate difference in putting people back to work and growing the economy.
“First, the president said in his State of the Union speech that he is in favor of passing trade promotion authority. The president should talk to Sen. Reid about bringing this to the Senate floor for approval. We have pending trade opportunities before us – the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – that will create jobs here at home by boosting the export of U.S. goods and services.
“Second, I continue to urge the president to allow the Keystone XL Pipeline to go forward. This project will create thousands of jobs and help secure our nation’s energy future. The State Department has signed off on this project and concluded that it would have no significant impact on the environment. This project makes sense for America.
“Third, we need to ensure that well-qualified homebuyers have access to affordable loans so they can realize the American dream of homeownership. I also continue to urge the administration and the Senate to support my efforts to reform government-sponsored entities, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so we get taxpayers out of the business of bailing out the housing market.
“Finally, I urge the president and my colleagues to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act to ensure that Americans receive the training they need to find jobs. This bill has languished for six years awaiting renewal. Let’s get it done today.”
Isakson is the Ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade. He has repeatedly called on the Senate to grant the president trade promotion authority because it would strengthen the United States’ negotiating positions on these agreements and would allow Congress to make its goals for trade clear as work on these agreements continues. The legislation to renew trade promotion authority is ready to be acted on, but it needs the support of the president and the Democrats in the Senate to move forward.
Isakson has long called on the president to allow the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and this week he joined his Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the president in continuance of these efforts. Recently, the State Department released the fifth and final environmental impact statement, which found that the project would have no significant impact on the environment.
The Workforce Investment Act is a federal system passed into law in 1998 that is designed to offer a comprehensive range of workforce development and job training activities through state and local partners. This legislation has not been reauthorized since its initial passage, and during times of such prolonged high unemployment, it remains critical that Congress act on this bill to put Americans back to work. Isakson has been working in a bipartisan manner on this job training bill with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for several years.
Isakson introduced S.1048, the Mortgage Finance Act, which would get taxpayers out of the business of bailing out the mortgage industry by winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and creating a new transitional program to securitize high-quality mortgages. The legislation creates a mechanism to pay back taxpayers for the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and mandates that the transitional program be turned over to the private sector after 10 years.