Should Congress Give Obama Fast-Track Trading Power?

Jeff Sessions questioning a witness in CommitteePhoto is a screen cap of video.

Jeff Sessions questioning a witness in CommitteePhoto is a screen cap of video.

Senator Jeff Sessions sent out a Critical Alert today, expressing concerns over Congress renewing Trade Promotion Authority, sometimes called Fast Track, for President Obama ahead of the conclusion of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.  From Sessions’ press release:

Congress has the responsibility to ensure that any international trade agreement entered into by the United States must serve the national interest, not merely the interests of those crafting the proposal in secret. It must improve the quality of life, the earnings, and the per-capita wealth of everyday working Americans. The sustained long-term loss of middle class jobs and incomes should compel all lawmakers to apply added scrutiny to a “fast-track” procedure wherein Congress would yield its legislative powers and allow the White House to implement one of largest global financial agreements in our history—comprising at least 12 nations and nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP. The request for fast-track also comes at a time when the Administration has established a recurring pattern of sidestepping the law, the Congress, and the Constitution in order to repeal sovereign protections for U.S. workers in deference to favored financial and political allies.

The press release covers five of the top concerns that Sessions and other Congressional leaders have regarding TPA.  The first concern is, of course, further consolidation of power in the Executive Branch.  I agree with Sessions on this, especially considering who the Chief Executive is, at the moment.  From the press release:

Moreover, while the President is required to submit a report to Congress on the terms of a trade agreement at least 60 days before submitting implementing legislation, the President can classify or otherwise redact information from this report, limiting its value to Congress.

The other concerns are:  Increasing trade deficits, ceding sovereign powers to other countries, currency manipulation, and immigration increases.  President Obama, in my opinion, has already seized enough power and abused it.  I think Sessions is thinking along those lines, as well.  This is what he says about sovereign powers and the Trans Pacific Partnership:

A USTR outline of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which TPA would expedite) notes in the “Key Features” summary that the TPP is a “living agreement.” This means the President could update the agreement “as appropriate to address trade issues that emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries.” The “living agreement” provision means that participating nations could both add countries to the TPP without Congress’ approval (like China), and could also change any of the terms of the agreement, including in controversial areas such as the entry of foreign workers and foreign employees. Again: these changes would not be subject to congressional approval.

The entire press release is worth reading.  You can find it online here.  Take a look at it, folks; don’t be lazy.  We need to pay attention to what our government is doing.

I have to point out that a writer at Forbes disagree with Sessions and me on this issue.  You can find his support for giving King Barry more power at this link.  Read it critically, is all I can suggest.

Barry bites his lip, just like Bill Clinton.

Barry bites his lip, just like Bill Clinton.