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The Trade Promotion Authority (aka TPA, or Fast-Track) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (aka TPP, or ObamaTrade) is dead until…Tuesday.
The Senate has already approved the TPA. On Friday, the House voted on it. The TPA portion was actually approved by a tiny majority, however it did not pass because it was tied to another provision: TAA, which failed miserably. In essence, the TAA is a multi-faced welfare program for those allegedly “hurt” by trade deals.
And that is why Boehner is going to bring the TPA up for a vote again Tuesday. You can be sure that he is whipping up votes to make up the shortfall, because the TAA must pass the House as well in order to be compatible with what the Senate approved.
Constitutional Conservatives have been united against passing TPA. Many Democrats, on behalf of unions, have also opposed it. Obama and GOP Leadership have been pushing for it’s passage. It’s a familiar story.
In the House, the opposition was led by the Freedom Caucus. As you can see in the roll call I hyperlinked, some familiar names who voted NO include Amash, Brat (listen to his interview with Glenn Beck here), Jordan, Mulvaney, Massie, Labrador, Bridenstine, Meadows, Yoho, Jones, Gohmert, and Buck.
Here is what Buck released in a statement:
“There is no way I can support ObamaTrade. I believe in free trade, but this President has proven over and over again that he can’t be trusted to make decisions that are good for America. He has a history of paying back his special interest friends at the expense of the rest of us. I’m afraid he’ll put his global warming, gun control, immigration, and labor agendas into future trade agreements.”
When the Senate voted on the TPA, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) all voted against it. Paul opposes fast-tracking something that the public does not have access to, and he detailed his experience into the secret room where it is held.
Sessions has been a particularly strong advocate against both the TPA and the TPP. Because of the critical information it contains, I will re-post his letter to Obama in it’s entirety below:
“Dear Mr. President:
On May 6th of this year, I sent you a letter (enclosed) regarding your request for Congress to grant you fast-track executive authority. Under fast-track, Congress transfers its authority to the executive and agrees to give up several of its most basic powers. These concessions include: the power to write legislation, the power to amend legislation, the power to fully consider legislation on the floor, the power to keep debate open until Senate cloture is invoked, and the constitutional requirement that treaties receive a two-thirds vote.
The latter is especially important since, having been to the closed room to review the secret text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is clear it more closely resembles a treaty than a trade deal. In other words, through fast-track, Congress would be pre-clearing a political and economic union before a word of that arrangement has been made available to a single private citizen.
The letter, which received no reply, asked several fundamental questions Congress ought to have answered before even considering whether to grant the executive such broad new powers. Among those, I asked that you make public the section of the TPP that creates a new transnational governance structure known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission. The details of this new governance commission are extremely broad and have the hallmarks of a nascent European Union, with many similarities.
Reviewing the secret text, plus the secret guidance document that accompanies it, reveals that this new transnational commission—chartered with a “Living Agreement” clause—would have the authority to amend the agreement after its adoption, to add new members, and to issue regulations impacting labor, immigration, environmental, and commercial policy. Under this new commission, the Sultan of Brunei would have an equal vote to that of the United States.
The implications of this new Pacific Union are extraordinary and ought to be discussed in full, in public, before Congress even contemplates fast-tracking its creation and pre-surrendering its power to apply the constitutional two-thirds treaty vote. In effect, to adopt fast-track is to agree to remove the constitutional protections against the creation of global governance structures before those structures are even made public.
I would therefore ask that you provide to me the legal and constitutional basis for keeping this information from the public and explain why I cannot share the details of what I have read with the American people. Congress should not even consider fast-tracking the transfer of sovereign power to a transnational structure before the details of that new structure are made fully available for public review.
Very truly yours
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
United States Senator
That brings us to how the GOP presidential contenders in the Senate stand. As I mentioned, Paul voted against the TPA. Rubio and Graham voted for it, despite not reading the TPP first, and have not said anything since.
And to the shock and dismay of his supporters, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has joined Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (who just echoed Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)‘s “pass it to find out what is in it” comments) as a top cheerleader for the TPA. Together, they wrote an op-ed in favor of it. Check Cruz’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts and you will find that he has been in media-blitz mode to get it passed.
You will also notice that while he gives a lot of “good” reasons to support the TPA, there are two pesky little details that could gravely endanger America’s sovereignty and economy.
1. Trade Promotion Authority eliminates amendments to the deal
We know who is writing the TPP. Obama and the Chamber of Commerce. So you can be sure (just ask Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)) that it will be full of immigration and environmental provisions, crony-capitalist carvouts, and decision making grants to international bodies.
But suppose Congress still wants to pass a trade deal, we can just take the garbage out, right?
Wrong. TPA prevents Congress from amending the bill. Which brings us to point number two…
2. Trade Promotion Authority eliminates the ability to filibuster the deal
Remember Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)‘s two filibusters? Or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)‘s, for that matter? Those are talking filibusters. But lesser known are procedural filibusters. These were implemented long ago to prevent small majorities from ruling the Senate. A procedural filibuster requires 60 votes in order for a bill to pass.
So even though we can’t amend the TPP, we can just be sure it will be voted down, right?
Wrong. TPA ensures that only 51 votes are needed in order to pass the TPP. If you don’t think Obama and the Chamber of Commerce can engage in some bi-partisan vote whipping, you are living in fantasy land.
The TPA is a fast-track to disaster for America.
We must kill it. Republicans must stand firm. Did they not just get elected to stop Obama? Just because Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) supports it does not mean it is a good idea. It is a terrible idea.
Free trade is a good idea, make no mistake about it. But as Mark Levin told Jeff Sessions, let’s wait until a conservative is in the White House before attempting any new trade deals.
RedState’s own LaborUnionReport has the list of Representatives to call ready for you to use. Make sure they vote NO on the TPA Tuesday!