Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is coming out swinging against the pending Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) deal legislation—which is a proposal in Congress that would fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade deals—saying that Congress should not give any more power to President Obama than it already has.
Jindal says Congress should reject the TPA fast track deal on the grounds that it would give Obama more power to “harm this country,” and since Obama “cannot be trusted” Congress shouldn’t give him any more authority with which to push his agenda.
“I’m for free trade. I’m for free trade agreements,” Jindal said. Also:
I’m for presidents in both parties having fast track authority on free trade agreements. But I am not for giving more authority to a president who ignores the Constitution, the separation of powers, and will of the American people. This particular President must not be given any more power to do anything else to harm this country. He cannot be trusted. That’s why Congress needs to find a way to maintain oversight of the Obama Administration – the current deal doesn’t do that.
Jindal joins fellow likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump—an expert in international business—in opposing TPA.
In a series of Tweets, Trump lambasted congressional Republicans for even considering such a deal.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an attack on America’s business,” Trump said in one Tweet. “It does not stop Japan’s currency manipulation. This is a bad deal.”
“Why are the Republicans giving Obama fast track authority for TPP and the Iran agreement?! Obama gets more from the GOP than his own party,” Trump added in another.
Several GOP heavyweights are on the other side, however, pushing the Chamber of Commerce—Wall Street establishment position. They include Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and some others. Cruz, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal authored with House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)—someone who purports to be conservative but has misled House Republicans on numerous occasions—backed the deal.
Cruz and Ryan wrote in the joint op-ed that the deal before Congress right now, in their estimation, would protect American workers and put “Congress in charge” on trade.
“Trade-promotion authority will hold the administration accountable both to Congress and to the American people,” they wrote.
Under TPA, any member of Congress will be able to read the negotiating text. Any member will be able to get a briefing from the U.S. trade representative’s office on the status of the negotiations—at any time. Any member will get to be a part of negotiating rounds. And most important, TPA will require the administration to post the full text of the agreement at least 60 days before completing the deal, so the American people can read it themselves.
Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government (ALG)—one of the biggest opponents of the pending trade deal—argues that Cruz’s op-ed with Ryan means he has joined the Washington establishment, abandoning ordinary Americans nationwide to benefit a few political and financial elites.
“Establishment, globalist advocates published what will go down as the most disingenuous, deceitful and outright dishonest promotional piece on behalf of the so-called fast-track trade authority that could have been written,” Manning wrote in an op-ed for The Hill, responding to Cruz and Ryan—an op-ed that thoroughly debunks most of the claims the two made about the trade deal in their Wall Street Journal column. Manning added that the Cruz-Ryan piece was “textbook propaganda” for financial elites that want the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, something the trade deal–like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1990s did before–would likely do.
Manning wrote that treaties like the one being considered are about politics more than about economics or trade. “These treaties are world governance infrastructure; they are big steps away from the Constitution, national sovereignty and independence,” Manning wrote.
All the trade talk, all the blather about jobs and the confusing stream of questionable statistics are designed to cover the real thrust of these treaties: the expansion of international and globalist interests. Why the GOP in Congress embraces the very process that would destroy it is a subject for another day, but it is enough to recognize that when they come to citizens begging for votes and donations claiming to defend the Constitution and our system of liberty, that they are being duplicitous Yet again, they treat the grass roots and the conservative base with contempt.
Manning added that such dishonesty is par for the course from someone like Ryan, but from Cruz–who’s been known for his willingness to stick it to the man in Washington–it’s shocking.
“For Ryan to do this is expected, but Cruz’s shilling for this big lie may be the last straw for those who became known as Tea Party supporters,” Manning wrote. “The irony is that if they give up hope that America can be restored because they no longer have a champion, who is going to vote for Ted Cruz? The answer is no one.”
Ryan leading the charge alongside Cruz means there’s likely a good chance that establishment-minded Republicans are seeking to mislead the GOP conference on the matter. Ryan has on numerous occasions been the GOP leadership’s tool to get conservatives in the House to back liberal or big government projects.
For instance, Ryan in late 2013—as Breitbart News detailed meticulously—systematically misled his Republican colleagues to get them to back a budget deal that broke spending caps set by law and hurt American veterans to do so. Ryan has also been one of the chief promoters of amnesty for illegal aliens, and was intricately involved in trying to convince his Republican colleagues that amnesty and a massive increase in cheap foreign labor—which the same financial elites who want the trade deal to go through unhindered have pushed for—would be somehow an economic boon, when most independent economists including the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agree that such policies would have an adverse effect on per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That means that while adding more people to America’s struggling economy would lift up the nation’s full GDP, conditions for individual people—per-capita GDP, arguably the more important GDP indicator—throughout the negative economy would likely decrease.
While many establishment Republicans have gotten behind the deal—along with President Obama himself, and some more establishment-leaning Democrats—the most vocal opposition to the trade deal has come from grassroots liberals like former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and others.
“Yeah, I do oppose it,” O’Malley said when asked if he opposed the deal by NPR’s Steve Inskeep.
What’s wrong with it is first and foremost that we’re not allowed to read it before representatives vote on it. What’s wrong with it is that right now what we should be doing are things that make our economy stronger here at home. And that’s my concern, that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this deal, is a race to the bottom, a chasing of lower wages abroad. And I believe that that does nothing to help us build a stronger economy here at home.
Sanders, who like O’Malley is readying a likely campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 to compete against pro-trade-deal former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called the deal “a disaster for American workers.”
Previously thought to be a forgone conclusion that the deal would pass Congress—McConnell says the Senate is turning to the trade deal right after it’s done with the Iran bill which is likely to be finished early next week—Politico a couple days ago detailed how the bill is now in trouble.
“The House is currently dozens of votes short of being able to pass legislation that would allow President Barack Obama to send trade deals to Congress for fast approval, according to senior lawmakers and aides in both parties, imperiling a top White House priority for the president’s final years in office,” Politico wrote. “At this point, upward of 75 House Republicans could vote against trade promotion authority if it comes up for a vote in the coming weeks, according to aides and lawmakers involved in the process. Some of the lawmakers fear job losses in their districts from free trade; others distrust Obama and oppose giving him more power.”
Meanwhile, only a handful of House Democrats—somewhere between 12 and 20, Politico reported citing top Democratic lawmakers like leadership officials Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC)—support it.
As conservative populism takes a grip on the Republican Party—especially heading into the 2016 GOP primaries—Cruz’s support for the deal notwithstanding, it’s likely more and more presidential candidates from the Republican side will start trickling out against it to join Trump and Jindal.
That’s even more likely since the same forces pushing for the Obama trade bill are the ones that push for open borders immigration policies—with immigration populism taking hold on the 2016 campaign trail thanks to likely candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, it’s a lot easier for Republicans to fight Democrats if they’re sticking up for American workers over special interests. Polling shows that conservative populism is a winner in both the general election and in Republican primaries, too—and John Fonte of the Hudson Institute detailed for National Review on Friday just how powerful conservative populism is in America.
“The hour of conservative populism has arrived,” Fonte wrote, noting earlier in his piece that the movement has reached the “major leagues of American politics” now.