Air date: November 10, 2015
Host: Jim Schneider
Guest: Robert Romano
Robert Romano is Senior Editor of Americans for Limited government, an organization that’s committed to identify, expose and work with Congress and state legislatures to prevent the continued expansion of government.
Trade promotion authority (Fast Track) is an authority granted by Congress to the President to negotiate trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. The TPP is one of those deals between 12 nations, including the U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada and several others that will encompass 40% of the global economy. The trade authority gives President Obama the power to negotiate the trade deal which is then submitted to Congress.
President Obama has announced his intention to sign the agreement. According to Robert, this means that at least 90 days before he signs it, he has to announce to Congress that he will sign it. Assuming that he signs it on day 90, then 60 days after that is when Congress would vote on it. Within those 60 days President Obama would have to submit a list of changes to U.S. law that must occur for the agreement to be implemented. So far, that list of changes has yet to appear. This means that of the 5,554 pages that make up the agreement, there are many provisions that contradict U.S. laws and regulations. Congress has to approve those changes in order for the agreement to become effective.
Why was Congress so interested in giving this fast track authority? Robert explained by going back to the Trade Act of 1974 when they started doing similar trade agreements on an expedited basis with simple majorities of Congress to ratify agreements rather than going through the treaty process. Originally the House had no role in adopting treaties because treaties went to the Senate where they were ratified by a two-thirds majority and Robert believes Congress has forgotten this original function of the Senate. He noted that Congress apparently felt they couldn’t get the two-thirds majority on trade agreements anymore so they tried to figure out a new process where they could be passed by a simple majority.
Will this treaty have an impact on American jobs? How about on our economy? Is currency manipulation a part of this? Have any Republican candidates weighed in on the treaty? What’s the Trans Pacific Partnership Commission all about? These and other questions are dealt with on this edition of Crosstalk.
To voice your views regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership, call your elected representatives at the following numbers:
202-225-3121 (House Switchboard)
202-224-3121 (Senate Switchboard)