Politics & Government

Rep. Vern Buchanan challenges Obama to take action on State of the Union promise

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday challenging him to expand international trade opportunities as he expressed in his State of the Union Speech.

"In your State of the Union Address you expressed a willingness to work with Congress on expanding international trade opportunities that will help grow the U.S. economy and create American jobs," Buchanan wrote. "Offer accepted."

Buchanan said increasing the United States' access to global markets will restore its position as a world leader, and that a pending free trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other countries, including Japan, would jump-start the economy.

But the best way to increase trade would be for Obama to approve legislation known as the Trade Promotion Authority, Buchanan said, which would allow faster considerations of trade agreements if certain safeguards are met.

"Bipartisan trade agreements could serve as an excellent example of what Washington can accomplish when both parties come together to help create jobs and increase America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace," Buchanan wrote.

Max Goodman, spokesman for Buchanan's office, said the issue was high on Buchanan's agenda. Buchanan will be hosting a town hall meeting on the economy and jobs in Sarasota on Saturday.