Obamatrade may play a major factor in a primary in Arizona next year where Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may end up fighting for his political life. State Sen. Kelli Ward, a conservative Republican and family practice physician who’s considering running against McCain, tells Breitbart News exclusively that she doesn’t believe the secrecy surrounding Obamatrade is the way government should operate.
“The TPA and TPP are becoming so intertwined and I think we can have a TPP without the TPA,” Ward said of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) it would fast-track—collectively known as Obamatrade. Ward expressed concern over the potential erosion of Constitutional Congressional authority that could come with Obamatrade, saying “I have a lot of concerns about the way it’s being pushed through and the secrecy involved in it.”
McCain, who’s been entrenched in Washington for decades, and his other potential challenger Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) both support Obamatrade. This gives Ward a key opening on the right.
“The Senate’s passage of Trade Promotion Authority today is a win for America’s economic and national security future,” said McCain upon the Senate’s passage of the TPA last month. “TPA will also help us to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”
Establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle have been feverishly working to procure the votes necessary for TPA’s passage in the House after which it would be delivered to President Obama’s desk.
McCain even went so far as to scold Senate Democrats that didn’t vote for the TPA, “Democrats opposing these agreements are telling us to be afraid.”
Salmon has also come out in support of the TPA, calling it, “the best way America has to address our chronic trade deficit,” in an op-ed published by Red Alert Politics. “Trade promotion authority allows the President to negotiate an agreement with other member states while granting those states the assurance that the deal they ultimately strike will be quickly approved or denied by the U.S. Congress.”
Salmon cites China as the country with which America holds the “largest single-country trade deficit.” He continues, “China is a nation with whom we do not have a free trade agreement and with whom trade promotion authority has never been used by a president to negotiate with China.”
But, contrary to Salmon’s claims that this would help America fight China, as President Obama has now said that China may some day join the TPP.
For her part, Ward is emerging as strongly conservative on most policy issues—and she’s hitching her wagon to key conservatives in Congress fighting against Obamatrade.
“I was happy to see Senator Paul standing up and saying this isn’t right,” Ward told Breitbart News.
Paul came out strongly in May against the TPA’s secrecy saying, “I’ve told leadership I’m a ‘no’ vote” on trade promotion authority.” Paul also said he visited the secret room and read the TPP after which he called on President Obama to release the text.
Referring to Obamatrade’s lock and key secrecy, Ward said, “that doesn’t seem like transparency, that doesn’t seem like government of, for and by the people. It seems like a lot of secrecy and a lot of backroom dealing for something that can effect this whole country and this whole world and I don’t think that’s the way the government should be doing business.”
Right now if there’s a trade agreement or there’s a treaty and there are bad parts in it, the Congress has the ability to amend those out. If this goes through, from what’s been reported, basically it’s an up or down vote, which sounds really good on the surface; however, how much pressure is going to be put on people to push something through if there’s ‘only’ one or two bad things in there.
Ward said the people of Arizona don’t approve of McCain’s actions on this.
“I can tell you from that out here in Arizona, not inside the beltway, it’s a very murky process that leaves a lot of questions and a lot of discomfort because we’re being kept in the dark,” Ward said.
Ward also referenced union opposition to the TPP saying, just because unions oppose it “doesn’t mean Republicans should jump on board.”
“It’s very complicated,” she said. “We haven’t passed a trade deal like this in years. Many of the people that are in office now have never passed a trade deal at all and to keep it under lock and key and to keep the people and the representatives in the dark is just wrong.”
Ward also criticized the media and political class for blocking the public’s access to information about this deal and the process.
“There’s so little real information out there other than talking points and media impressions,” she said. “Shouldn’t the American people have access?”
A number of the Republican candidates running for President have come out against the secrecy over the TPP. Of these candidates only one, Sen. Rand Paul, is a member of Congress and has read the highly secretive TPP. Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has called for transparency and release of TPP’s details as well. Other 2016 Presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Lindsey Graham, both of whom voted for Obamatrade, have refused to answer whether they read the TPP before their votes.
A recent CBS/New York Times poll resulted in a majority, 55 percent, of respondents opposing, “giving the president authority to negotiate international trade deals that Congress can only approve or disapprove, but not change.”
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