Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is another Congresswoman—alongside Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA)—who’s willing to be sold a bill of goods from House Republican Leadership and is considering blindly following them and supporting Obamatrade.
Roby is but one of many establishment Republicans who, if she votes for Obamatrade, may face a primary challenge next year. A national Tea Party leader who was targeted by President Obama’s IRS, Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party, is currently mulling a run against Roby. And Gerritson is slamming Roby for continuing to stay silent on Obamatrade—and even considering voting for it.
“I am shocked that the people we’ve elected to represent us are hesitant or unwilling to explain their position on fast track,” Gerritson said in an email.
This agreement clearly threatens American sovereignty. And in many ways makes Congress completely irrelevant. We elected our representatives with the hope and confidence that they would restore and uphold our Constitution. Yet they seem bent on rendering it worthless by passing international agreements that destroy our sovereignty.
I am very troubled that our representatives are willing to vote yes on a 600 page agreement that they have not read. How can something that has been written in secret be good for America? The fact that the agreement has to remain behind closed doors-one can not even take notes while reading it-is a blatant red flag. If this is so wonderful for America then we should be able to have open discussion about it. The fact that we can’t makes me believe this is cronyism at its finest.
Roby’s spokesman Todd Stacy confirmed yet again on Wednesday to Breitbart News that she’s undecided on Obamatrade and is even considering voting for it.
“It’s fine that other members of the Alabama delegation have already staked out firm positions on this bill,” Stacy said when reminded Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) are all against Obamatrade.
“Rep. Roby may well end up agreeing with them, or not, but she makes vote decisions based on her judgement of the bill, not based on others’ positions,” Stacy said.
That would be difficult in this case anyway, since reasonable conservative minds differ on this issue. Senator Cruz, Senator Cotton, Chairman Hensarling, Secretary Rice, Chairman Ryan and others supportive, Senator Sessions, Senator Shelby and others opposed. Right now she is taking the opportunity to study the issue carefully and listen to what constituents affected by trade have to say about it.
For instance, our farmers have been outspoken because of their interest in exports. And, yes, she plans on going to the SCIF [Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility — or the secret room] to read through what currently exists from the TPP.
There’s a few issues with Stacy’s statement, indicating that Roby’s office is working closely with Boehner’s office in a potential attempt to dupe the voters of Alabama’s second congressional district on trade.
Firstly, and most importantly, the list of names Stacy rattled off somehow “reasonable conservative minds” who “differ on this issue” were all provided to his office by Speaker Boehner’s team. In fact, Boehner put out a press release citing each of those names on Tuesday as he began losing momentum and support for Obamatrade. Stacy insists in follow-up emails it was a pure coincidence that he and Boehner’s office picked the same names of Obamatrade-supporting Republicans to suggest Roby may support the president’s trade agenda.
Not one of those names Boehner’s and Roby’s offices cites as supportive of Obamatrade is new or surprising, but it’s worth noting in at least a couple of those cases there’s some serious issues.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came out publicly in support of Obamatrade before he even read the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) would fast-track—according to an admission by his own office to Breitbart News. He did so in op-ed with Chairman Paul Ryan of the House Ways and Means Committee—who’s lost pretty much all credibility with conservatives. Ryan has consistently and repeatedly misled the Republican conference since then on everything from the budget to Medicare to trade to immigration and more. When asked why Roby’s office thinks Ryan is somehow a “reasonable conservative mind,” Stacy has not answered.
What’s more, Stacy’s claim that Roby will read the text of the TPP in the secret room inside the Capitol comes after last week he and the congresswoman didn’t even know about the secret room. When asked where she stood on the issue last week—she was undecided then too—and whether she had been to the secret room inside the Capitol to read the TPP text, Stacy responded that she certainly hadn’t at that point because he and Roby both had no idea what the room was.
“Don’t know what room you’re referring to,” Stacy said. “We are in the middle of appropriations season, so she’s spent most of her time in committee markups and on the floor.”
When Breitbart News followed up, sending Stacy several articles providing details about the secret room, he answered “Hmm. Thanks for sending.”
It’s almost as bad a situation as Walters’, the California Republican who went on MSNBC shilling Obamatrade for Boehner earlier this week before admitting to Breitbart News she had no idea what she’s talking about because she hasn’t read the TPP in the secret room.
There’s few things heading into a vote on this in the House—potentially on Friday, maybe early next week—that are clear. It’s unclear if they’re even going to have a vote, first off, and if they do whether it will pass. It’s unclear which members who are currently undecided will vote for it or against it.
But there’s also one thing that’s extraordinarily clear: There’s no amount of money that will protect any House Republican who supports Obamatrade from primary challenges that may emerge and chase many of them out of office. Come to think of it, maybe it’ll end up being a net positive for conservative outsiders if leadership succeeds in its plans, since the backlash could be so big. If Roby—like many others who are undecided—votes for Obamatrade in the House, she’ll probably never hear the end of it.