English: Congressional portrait of Congressman...
English: Congressional portrait of Congressman Rob Wittman, 112th Congress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a big supporter of Representative Rob Wittman (VA-01). When it comes to fighting wasteful spending, I don’t have much confidence he will stand and fight. He usually says the right things, but I fear he cares more about bringing home the bacon to his district. Unfortunately, the cost of that bacon is beggaring our children and grandchildren. Nevertheless, whenever Wittman does something right, I think it best to thank him and hope he has had a change of heart.

This is what Wittman put on his website. So it seems he has at least taken a firm stand on this issue.

Wittman Opposes Pair of Trade Bills

WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) today voted in opposition to Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance. TPA is the mechanism whereby Congress grants the president authority to enter into trade negotiations, sets trade negotiating objectives, and establishes notification and approval processes for certain trade agreements, among other provisions.

“Free trade is a critical element of smart economic policy, and I am a strong supporter of responsible trade agreements,” Wittman said. “However, I read this bill from top to bottom, and I am deeply concerned with the ambiguities and vagueness of many of the U.S. trade negotiating objectives it lays out. The  U.S. needs to be negotiating from a position of power. With TPA, Congress is undercutting its own ability to maintain leveraging authority over its priorities by failing to define strategic directives as specifically as possible. (continued here)

Given President Barack Hussein Obama’s track record, any Republican who votes to give that man more authority needs to have his head examined. We also need to boot that Republican out of office. There is no excuse for giving a president who is already abusing the powers of his office more opportunities to do harm.

We have had Obama as our president for over six years. Don’t we know the damage that man is capable of doing? Yet the Republican leadership still supports bipartisanship, and their definition of bipartisanship is giving Obama more power.

Our republic is unraveling before our eyes, but too many Republicans still want to be seen as reasonable. What is reasonable about letting greedy and power-hungry politicians trash our Constitution and pretending the solution is bipartisanship? If we all trash the Constitution, is that going to make it okay?

How come “reasonable” Republicans keep getting reelected? What is your Congressman’s voting record? Do you need to replace him? When are you going to get to work?


Politics is invariably messy. So I had to hunt through a mess to find out how the House voted on giving the president fast-track authority for the trade bill.

Here is a link to the critical vote. This CNN article, Democrats reject Obama on trade, provides some background. Why is the bill a mess? The Senate attached the Trade Act of 2015 to H.R.1314, a bill that has nothing to do with trade, and the Senate stuck The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 in H.R.644H.R.644 passed, but H.R.1314 did not. H.R.1314, unfortunately, is not exactly dead. The leadership won a vote to reconsider the bill. So now the clowns have to figure out how to pass the bill and still look like they are against it.


  1. Don’t honor these actors in Washington by calling them clowns. Clowns make people laugh. These fools make me sad and even angry that they get compensated for doing nothing they promised about creating livable wage jobs. They all know the root cause is unbalanced trade. US workers will never be able to compete with foreign labor that pays $200 a month when a US worker has to pay $1000 a month in rent alone. Any trade agreement must have safeguards to balance trade.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose calling them clowns is akin to insulting drunken sailors by saying they spend like drunken sailors. Point taken.

      Can US workers compete without “safeguards?” When we are talking about free trade, I am not always certain what is meant by “safeguards.” In a free market, the primarty safeguard for our wages is the law of supply and demand.

      With respect to wages, the citizens of the United State have several advantages.
      1. The opportunity for a good education (would help to get our government monopoly out-of-the way)
      2. The availability of capital assets that increase the productivity.
      3. Advanced infrastructures for communications, transportation, electricity, and so forth.
      4. Collocated business that can readily provide services for other businesses.
      5. Legal system that ensures the rule of law, not the rule of men.
      6. Readily accessible markets.

      The point is that we have many advantages that can drive down the overall costs. Labor is cheap where the laborers don’t have the needed skills or inexpensive nobody in the area has any use for the skills of the laborers.


  2. Tom,
    I skimmed over both bills and the thousands of words. It is too complicated to enforce and the result will be the same as in past trade bills. The person who profits most will drive the end result by influencing his legislator with campaign funds.

    The simple way is to make a simple agreement to protect both parties. That agreement is when trade balances occur, either party has the right to limit goods or services without penalties until the parties agree to resume trade.

    The present trade unfavorable trade of one half trillion dollars a year in the US equates to four million average livable wage jobs.

    Regards and good will blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s difficult for me to understand how any politician who advertises himself as a “conservative” can keep up appearances when opposing the removal of trade barriers. Presidents have long had authority to negotiate these deals and they are, over time, increasingly detailed. These anti-trade votes are votes against the security and economic welfare of the United States. Most Republicans get it. The Democrats, alas, have gone in the tank for labor unions and special interests who peddle the mirage that the United States can hide behind trade walls to avoid participation in the world economy. That way lies eventual economic and military collapse, with the lovely prospect of political and military chaos on the way to ruin.

    The United States can compete in the global economy, and must compete whether it likes it or not. If the attitude is that we are going to withdraw, we’ll get our clocks cleaned by China.

    Wittman’s vote is a left-wing sell-out.


    1. As Citizen Tom noted, calling a deal a “trade deal” does not restrict it to that. There are many other quite objectionable aspects to the Trans-Pacific Partnership that have people concerned.

      You haven’t read it. I have only read early pieces excised and exposed through WikiLeaks, and some of those are troubling indeed. Considering Obama’s track record, his strong push for getting this passed provides more clues as to what its undisclosed features include — and if he wants it badly, this is a good rule of thumb to oppose it, in the absence of being able to read the proposal itself.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The legislation that got killed last week addressed Presidential authority to negotiate. There isn’t an agreement yet. I would, however, be interested to hear from Keith and Tom which elements that have been discussed as potentially part of a final deal they find objectionable. I’m sure that in a comprehensive, multilateral trade package there is something for everyone to have reservations about. But the issue is, in the aggregate, is the United States better off being an influential part of a new Pacific-area trade agreement than it is being on the outside of such as major liberalization of international trade conditions. Is the 20-30 year outlook for the United States better or worse if we fail to exercise leadership now.



    1. Actually, the legislation did not get killed. Congress will consider it again, and that’s unfortunate.

      The fact is we don’t need such a bill. If a trade bill is actually needed, it should be simple and not include tons of baggage. Fast-track authority just makes it easier to include unneeded baggage.

      The fact is we don’t need a bill. All free trade involves is opening our markets. If another government insists upon giving its merchants government aid, we can protect our home industries by taxing their products or setting quotas on what we import from them. On the other hand, if another government opens its markets, we can reciprocate, and we can do this without any treaties or trade agreements. All we have to do is establish and implement a consistent policy.


    2. It is interesting but unsurprising to me that you consider a push by your man Obama to be an “exercise” of “leadership.” But as to your question:

      But the issue is, in the aggregate, is the United States better off being an influential part of a new Pacific-area trade agreement than it is being on the outside of such as major liberalization of international trade conditions. Is the 20-30 year outlook for the United States better or worse if we fail to exercise leadership now.

      There is no way to answer this without knowing the details of the proposed agreement. Your characterization of this as a “major liberalization” is based on a lack of specific knowledge of it, and despite having seen Obama’s opposition to market liberalization over the past six years.

      Is it really trade or no trade? Hardly; we are already engaged in trillions of dollars of trade with these entities. But Obama recently discussed that he plans to use the TPP as a tool to force countries to implement climate change policies. He didn’t explicitly say so, but one of those countries would be the US. How much “liberalization” do you suppose that Obama is inclined to support with regard to trade of fossil fuels?

      Similar provisions to force immigration are not rendered impotent by the assertion that “we won’t join those parts.” That is explicitly subject to future change, and such future change avoids any approval process by Congress.

      This has been negotiated for years. An additional delay to get a pro-American president will not cause much harm, and avoids the potential for far greater harm.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

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