DON’T GIVE UP! Fight Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance

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

My congressman is Representative Rob Wittman (VA-01). Here is what emailed to my congressman at house.gov

I appreciate your opposition to giving the president fast-track authority for the TPP, and I would like you to continue that opposition. I have several reasons for this.

  1. We don’t need trade deals. 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. Trade deals provide an opportunity to abuse power. Politicians use trade deals to pay off constituencies. That includes foreign interests, even foreign governments who help to finance them.
  3. President Obama’s track record shows he cannot be trusted not to abuse fast-track authority.
  4. Trade deals have a history of being used to interfere in the affairs of other nations. That includes environmental and labor laws. That gives other nations an incentive to interfere with our laws. Why would we want to let other nations do that?

The bottom-line is keep it simple (KISS). Fast-track authority complicates an otherwise simple process. We treat our neighbors the way we want them to treat us.

Thank you.

Unfortunately, the devious proponents for giving the president fast-track authority for the TPP have not given up, Trade pact proponents claim new momentum.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the calculation quickly: If Congress didn’t act swiftly to send President Barack Obama a fast-track trade bill, it might never get done.

With that in mind, the Democratic president and the two Republican leaders embarked on their most intense bipartisan negotiating spree in recent memory, speaking on private conference calls, scheduling meetings with supportive Democrats and plotting a process to advance Obama’s top agenda item over the finish line. The back channeling, combined with some complex procedural machinations, might allow the House and Senate to clear both Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance before the Fourth of July recess. (continued here)

That’s why Delegate Bob Marshall sent this email out Monday. He says we each need to contact our congressman.

THE MARSHALL MESSAGEYour Help Needed!

Dear Friends:

NAFTA promised hundreds of thousands of US jobs and US trade surpluses which did not materialize.  The same promises are being made for the Trans Pacific Partnership!

TPA, TPP and TAA

TPA stands for Trade Promotion Authority, also known as “fast track,” by which Congress approves trade agreements up or down without amendments.  This bill paves the way for faster approval of the Trans Pacific Partnership.  The vote scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday June 16th, HR 1314, will be on the TPA.

TAA is the Trade Adjustment Assistance which retrains American workers who lose jobs because of the Trans Pacific Partnership.  Unions favor it. The House rejected the TAA last week. According to Breitbart News, the assistance will be paid for by fines on small businesses, “that for no fault of their own, they forget to file a piece of paperwork telling the IRS how much someone else owes on their taxes.”

TPP stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a specific trade agreement being negotiated by the United States with other countries since 2009.  No final vote has taken place on TPP.  

Although future amendments to the TPP (the actual trade deal) would have to be approved by Congress after initial passage of the TPP, my question is, will Congress stand up to foreign nations or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?  Let’s look at the record.

Country of Origin Labels Voted Down

The Wall Street Journal (6/10/15)   notes:

“The House voted late Wednesday to remove country-of-origin labels on beef, pork and chicken sold in the U.S. …  Wednesday’s 300-131 vote repealing the country-of-origin labels for meat follows a series of rulings by the World Trade Organization finding the labeling discriminates against animals imported from Canada and Mexico. …

Canada has threatened trade restrictions on a range of U.S. products, including meat, wine, chocolate, jewelry and furniture. … Country-of-origin labels … were mandated by Congress in … 2002 and 2008 …  and require meatpackers to identify where animals are born, raised and slaughtered. The information is then printed on meat packages sold in grocery stores.”

My wife always reads the food labels!  Polls show consumers overwhelmingly favor such labels.  Shouldn’t we be allowed to know where our meat comes from?  Congress does not always follow the wishes of “we the people!”

Congress Caves on Reining in Obama’s Amnesty

Another example: In the fall of 2014, Congress voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security through February, 2015 (other agencies were funded for a full year.)  Speaker Boehner assured us that after January, 2015, when the Republicans would control both Houses, Obama’s amnesty policies would be curtailed by a Budget amendment.  

However, in March, 2015, the Republican controlled House and Senate voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security 257 Yeas to 167 Nays   WITHOUT a ban on the use of tax money to implement Obama’s Executive Amnesty for persons illegally in the US.  

Congressman Simpson said it was more important to fund the Department of Homeland Security than to stop Obama’s Amnesty program. 

In 1993, President Clinton, supported by former presidents Ford, Carter and Bush assured Americans that NAFTA would increase jobs in the United States.

Instead, manufacturing jobs have shrunk dramatically in the United States while trade deficits skyrocketed.  Can President Obama give better assurances that TPP will not follow NAFTA’s record?  

Congress’ Record Leaves Little Doubt it will Cave Again

Why should anyone think Congress will reject a Trade proposal supported by the US Chamber of Commerce?  HR 1314 paves the way to approving the Trans Pacific Partnership by giving the President “Fast Track” authority to negotiate the trade deal. Urge your Congressman to vote against HR 1314.  The vote is likely to come up Tuesday, June 16th..  

(Sorry for my typo in my previous Alert. I typed “TPA” instead of “TPP” but all quotes and links were accurate.)

Please contact your Representative through the links or at the phone or fax below:  

Rob Wittman (R – 01) 202-225-4261  202-225-4382

Scott Rigell (R – 02) 202-225-4215   202-225-4218

Bobby Scott (D – 03) 202-225-8351   202-225-8354

J. Randy Forbes (R – 04) 202-225-6365   202-226-1170

Robert Hurt (R – 05) 202-225-4711   202-225-5681

Bob Goodlatte (R – 06) 202-225-5431   202-225-9681

David Brat (R – 07) 202-225-2815   202-225-0011

Don Beyer (D – 08) 202-225-4376   202-225-0017

Morgan Griffith (R – 09) 202-225-3861   202-225-0076 .

Barbara Comstock (R – 10) 202-225-5136   202-225-0437

Gerald E. (Gerry) Connolly (D – 11) 202-225-1492   202-225-3071
Thank you so much for your help!

Sincerely,

Delegate Bob Marshall

P.S. If you would like to donate you can do so below or if you’d like to volunteer to help my campaign you can do so at my website at www.DelegateBob.com

15 thoughts on “DON’T GIVE UP! Fight Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance

  1. Something like this requires a constitutional amendment to cede the Congressional authority to the president. Why can’t anyone see and say that Congress doesn’t have the constitutional authority to do this thru just a simple bill. It would require a constitutional change to the powers of Congress and those of the president.

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    1. According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress has power “[t]o regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” Additionally, according to Article III, Section 2, the U.S. President has “power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.”

      The U.S. Congress is involved with commerce with foreign nations. The U.S. President, including the U.S. Senate, is involved with treaties. So, what is the problem?

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      1. The problem is that they are trying to preauthorize consent for future days made by the President without the access to whatever he might chose to agree with or sign his name to. Definitely not constitutional

        Liked by 1 person

      2. @Matthew

        Do I detect a note of sarcasm? If so, then I think Mike missed it.

        I tend to agree with Mike that this approach to treaty-making is unconstitutional, but I have different reasons.
        1. I don’t think that Americans 200 years ago thought that Congress is was suppose to regulate commerce via agreements made with other nations.
        2. Here is the definition of a treaty.

        treaty
        noun, plural treaties.
        1. a formal agreement between two or more states in reference to peace, alliance, commerce, or other international relations.
        2. the formal document embodying such an international agreement.
        3. any agreement or compact.

        An agreement with another nation is a treaty. However, instead of two-thirds of the Senate ratifying the treaty, we have an arrangement which allows a lower threshold for passage. That would obviously require a constitutional amendment.

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    2. My point was (and is) the U.S. Constitution expressly delegates authority over the regulation of foreign trade to the U.S. Congress (Art. I, Sect. 8); yet, the U.S. President possesses no power for trade. Nonetheless, the U.S. President does possess exclusive authority, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to negotiate treaties and international agreements and exercises broad authority over the conduct of the foreign affairs for these United States, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur. Both legislative and executive authorities come into play in the development and execution of U.S. trade agreements; hence, the creation of the TPA.

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      1. What constitutes the regulation of commerce? What is a treaty? If we fog up the definition of each by combining the two definitions together, we can get something rather strange.

        Supposedly, our trade agreements with foreign nations are executive agreements. When the president enters into an executive agreement with another nation, he does so on his own authority, and his successor is not bound by that agreement.

        Trade agreements, however, involve a subject where the president has no authority of his own. He can only execute laws passed by Congress. Hence, to engage in a trade agreement, Congress must grant the president the authority and pass implementing legislation.

        Hence, with a trade agreement, the president signs an agreement with another nation, and Congress effectively approves the agreement. However, instead of two thirds of the Senate approving the agreement, only a majority in both houses is required. And why? The agreement with that other nation is “only an agreement,” not a treaty.

        Given the binding nature and complexity of these agreements that are not treaties, I fail to see many advantages for the average guy. All we end up doing is giving “operators” an opportunity to make fast money. We risk creating a system where it is more important to understand and get around the law than it is to know how to make a good product. And truth be told, it doesn’t look constitutional. Some judges may say it is, but it sure does not look constitutional, and I think this is one time where appearances ought to matter. If Congress is going to go through all these shenanigans, then a two-thirds majority in the Senate ought to be required, or it ought to be damnably clear that the agreement ends with the Obama presidency.

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        1. The U.S. Congress has the power to regulate and tax commerce with foreign nations, since it has the delegated power to do so. The U.S. Congress can legislate “intercourse by way of trade and traffic between different people or states and the citizens or inhabitants thereof, including not only the purchase, sale, and exchange of commodities, but also the instrumentalities and agencies by which it is promoted and the means and appliances by which it is carried on, and the transportation of persons as well as goods” Brennan v. Titusville, 153 U.S. 289 (1894). Moreover, “Commerce is a term of the largest import. It comprehends intercourse for the purposes of trade in any and all its forms, including the transportation, purchase, sale, and exchange of commodities between the citizens of these United States and the citizens or subjects of other countries, and between the citizens of the different States and between the Indian tribes. The power to regulate commerce embraces all instruments by which it may be conducted” Welton v. Missouri, 91 U.S. 275 (1875). Finally, “The words ‘commerice’ and ‘trade’ are synonymous, but not identical. They are often used interchangeably, but strictly speaking, commerce relates to intercourse or dealings with foreign nations, states, or political communities, while trade denotes business intercourse or mutual traffic within the limits of a state or nation, or the buying, selling, and exchanging of the same community” Hooker v. Vandeater, 4 N.Y. 353 (1874).

          A treaty is simply “an agreement, league, or contract between two or more nations or sovereigns, formally signed by commissioners properly authorized, and solemnly ratified by the several sovereigns or the supreme power of each state” Edye v. Robertson, 112 US 580 (1884).

          According to Fergusson (2015), the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was (and is) “. . .the product of many decades of debate, cooperation, and comprimise between the legislative and executive branches. At its foundation lie the respective constitutional powers granted to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. President, as well as the pragmatic realization that a certain cooperative flexibility is needed if the United States is to negotiate reciprocal trade agreements credibly. The evolution of TPA to date shows, among other things, that the congressional-executive partnership on trade policymaking can be strengthed or strained as it adjusts to evolving political and economic conditions, as well as shiting priorities of the two branches” (p. 6)

          I, personally, am against this so-called legislative-executive partnership. The U.S. Congress exercised its delegated power over foreign commerce by establishing tariffs (i.e., “imposts” as expressed in Art. I, Sec. 8) on imported goods, which was the main trade policy and main source of federal income for the first 150 years of these United States. It worked very well, as intended, and it funded nearly all government operations. Let us go back to the original intent, I say.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. The last phrase of your penultimate paragraph may be correct, but (now I see you’ve caught) it wasn’t what you intended to type.

          To me, it is clear that a delay of 19 months or so would not be crucial, but Obama’s intense push to get TPP through without revealing it is ample evidence of its harmful nature.

          As you pointed out, this is really Congress’s bailiwick. This should particularly be true in light of the SCOTUS redefinitions and expansions of the term “commerce” over recent decades such that carrying a concealed pistol on your person within 1000 feet of a school is “impermissible” because every gun “has moved in or otherwise affects interstate commerce.” That stretch is much like FDR’s law validated in Wickard v Filburn (1942, but deciding a law that had been in effect since 1938) forcing wheat quotas that made you a criminal if you grew wheat on your own property for your own family beyond what the government decided you may have. The feds had decided Filburn could grow 11.1 acres of wheat, but he grew nearly 12 acres so that he could use the rest for his own purposes. The feds busted him for this crime, destroying his crops (with the production of millions of other farmers and ranchers) while the country starved.

          The alleged “genius” of Franklin Roosevelt was to burn millions of bushels of crops and slaughter and bury millions of head of cattle to restore the economy. It worked as you would expect, greatly lengthening and worsening the Great Depression and creating unending misery. One wonders how the provisions Obama has buried in the TPP will outdo even FDR.

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

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Ha! That should be shifting, not shiting, and compromise, not comprimise. Either spell check is not working, or my elderly mind is not working.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. But that never stopped either of them in the past from raping the Constitution and will probably not be challenged in court. Even if it is the supreme court will probably rubber stamp.
    We haven’t had a constitutional republic for a very long time. They pretend when they need to inorder not to alarm the populace. But they violate when ever it suits them and get away sit clean. All three branches of the tree are rotted out. The civil war was the 2nd American Revolution against states rights and the constitutional government. It raised the federal government to the status of dictatorial powers destroying the us that was founded only 100 yrs before.

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  3. Block this now but they will just do it again. Later when we aren’t looking or lie to us again . like Obamacare. They rule us. They don’t serve us.

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