Update: Here is video on the subject regarding a leak by Wikileaks on the text of this monstrous thing: (H/T Democracy Now)
For once there is something that the President is trying to get accomplished, that the Democrats and Republicans in Congress are actually standing against. For once, this is a very good thing.
This comes via Mother Jones:
The Obama administration is nearing the end of negotiations on the biggest free trade deal in US history, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The stakes are high: The pact affects the United States and 11 other countries, domestic policy areas ranging from intellectual property rights to product safety and environmental regulations, and $26 trillion in annual economic output. But in order to secure the deal, President Barack Obama says he wants Congress to grant him permission to sign the final trade agreement, which Congress has not yet seen, without congressional input. A coalition of about 174 conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats in the House signaled this week they would likely vote against giving those trade powers to the president.
The US trade representative Michael Froman and Obama want to finalize the TPP by the end of the year and are pushing Congress to pass legislation soon that grants the president something called fast-track authority, which would allow him to sign the final trade agreement without Congress making any amendments to the pact. If Obama gets what he wants, Congress may not even be able to read the final version of the massive trade deal in its entirety until after lawmakers have signed away their rights to influence it. At that point, the two chambers will only be allowed an up-or-down vote to implement the international pact into domestic law. The administration says fast-track authority will assure other countries that the deal the United States has committed to after three years of negotiations won’t be dismantled by American lawmakers who dislike some of the provisions. No major trade agreement has been finalized without it.
Many conservative Republicans—usually fans of free trade—feel the same way. “For two hundred years of our nation’s history, Congress led our nation’s trade policy,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and 22 Republicans in the House wrote in a letter sent to the president Tuesday. “However, recent presidents have seized Congress’ constitutional trade authority and also ‘diplomatically legislated’…using…’Fast Track.’”
“Conservatives have shown themselves to instinctively oppose anything coming out of the Obama White House. So their opposition is not surprising,” Adam Hersh, a trade expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, says in an email. But he adds that the Democratic opposition is new. “We’re seeing the culmination of dissatisfaction with persistent poor trading outcomes for the US economy” such as job outsourcing, he says, and the feeling that Congress has been “kept in the dark.
Rod Dreher, of whom I owe the hat tip to for reporting this story on his blog says:
Trust him? No. It’s not about Obama personally; Congress gave fast-track authority to Bill Clinton, and to George W. Bush. But the House Democrats who oppose this — and the overwhelming majority of the opponents are Dems — say. Establishment Republicans tend to support fast-track authority, but some Tea Partiers are standing with the Dems.
I’m willing to hear the counterarguments, but in general, I’m not in favor of giving this or any president the authority to approve something so enormous and consequential without Congress even seeing it. I could be wrong, but it seems that we’ve had enough trusting political and business elites always to operate in the best interests of the American people.
I feel the same way; this is not about Obama personally. However, it is about policies that undermine the sovereignty of the United States of America and literally it is about policies that put the screws to the American worker. We have enough “free trade” deals in this Country as it is; and they are quite literally draining this Country of its GDP. People want to know why there are no jobs in this Country? This is why! Because crony capitalists and the political elites who protect them; would rather manufacture products overseas on the cheap, instead of giving an American worker a living wage.
This is something that we have to stop and reverse at all costs, if we are ever going to be able to put America back as the manufacturing mecca that it once was.