There is growing concern and opposition on Capitol Hill that President Obama’s unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bill will be voted on during the “lame-duck” session, which will take place once voters have cast their ballots in the November 2016 election.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been one of the most vocal critics regarding the possibility of TPP being voted on during the lame-duck session. He said earlier this week that “The vote should be held under regular Senate and Constitutional order, and it should be held when voters can hold their lawmakers accountable – not during an unaccountable lame-duck session.”
The benefit of having the vote during the 2016 lame-duck session is that there will be a lame duck president and lame duck members of Congress who won’t feel pressured by their constituents to oppose the deal.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Breitbart News, “A vote should absolutely be taken on TPP before next year-s election, so voters will have a chance to know who voted to give this President another chance to hurt their jobs, their wages, and add immigration without Congressional participation.”
Obama formally notified Congress last week that he intends to sign the trade deal after a 90-day waiting period. This period will allow Congress and the American people to look over the text of the bill and debate it before Congress votes.
Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro told Breitbart News that she is also concerned about the content of TPP and the possible timing of the vote:
I believe that the TPP should not come up for a vote in the Congress because it would lose U.S. jobs and depress wages. If it does come up for a vote in Congress it should do so in the light of day where the public can hold their elected representatives responsible for their vote. It would be undemocratic if the TPP were voted on in a lame duck session of Congress…
The 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership is controversial for many Republicans and Democrats who feel that the details of the deal were made in secrecy. The Obama administration, and the other governments included in the deal, have kept much of Congress and the American people in the dark throughout the creation of the 5,544 page bill.
Many unions, advocacy groups, and environmental groups are opposed to TPP because they feel it doesn’t provide enough environmental protections, while many on the right are concerned that it will kill jobs in America.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-NY) told Breitbart News that “A trade treaty that will bind Americans for generations must be voted on by a Congress that can be held responsible for that vote. I am adamantly opposed to voting on the TPP in a lame duck Congress.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also expressed concern at the idea of TPP being voted on after the November election. Jordan told Breitbart News, “Democracy is weakened when major legislation is passed by unaccountable politicians during lame-duck sessions.” adding that “The Trans-Pacific Partnership must not be voted on in a period without accountability like a post-election December legislative session.”
Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) also told Breitbart News that they find the idea of voting on TPP after the election deeply troubling and are opposed to it.
If the deal is done after the November election, members of Congress won’t have to deal with the bill becoming a hot button issue for the 2016 presidential election. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have already come out against the deal.
Clinton initially said she supported the deal, but recently flipped. She said:
I did say, when I was Secretary of State, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards. My standards are for more new, good jobs for Americans, for raising wages for Americans. And I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say, ‘This will help raise your wages.’ And I concluded I could not.
The frontrunner in the republican presidential race, Donald Trump, also is against the deal. He told Breitbart News this week that “The deal is insanity,” adding, “that deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen.”