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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on trade promotion authority, Trans-Pacific trade negotiations, and today’s Obama Administration report that the GDP grew at only 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year:

“Today, Americans across the country are living with an economy that takes one step forward followed by two steps back. The Commerce Department’s report that the economy slowed down to only 0.2 percent growth in the first three months of this year is just the latest sign that America is being held back from reaching our full potential.

“Particularly disappointing in today’s report is that trade fell by 7.2 percent in the first quarter. Trade supports over 38 million good-paying American jobs in industries that touch all of our communities. Expanding more foreign markets to free and open trade would provide a much-needed boost to our economy. House Republicans are committed to a stronger American economy through greater trade with our allies, and the Ways and Means Committee has already taken positive steps towards this by approving the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.

“And today, Congress heard from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a path forward for a long-term partnership between the United States and Japan. Under TPA,  American companies will have more economic opportunities with Trans-Pacific partners, including Japan. To realize the economic and security benefits of a closer partnership with these countries, President Obama needs to further engage with his own party to build support for TPA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Congress also supports Japan’s willingness to take on a more pronounced international role in foreign and defense issues at a time of increasing military activity in southeast Asia and concerns over North Korea’s nuclear threats.

“Today’s disappointing GDP report underscores the need for a more dynamic economy. And the visit from the Prime Minister is a reminder that, through expanded trade opportunities, we can achieve it.”