The Trans-Pacific Partnership does not protect the interests of the American people, according Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
Standing next to the behemoth multinational trade agreement on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sessions pointed to the length — clocking in at 5,554 page — and contents of the document as potentially deleterious to the U.S.
“No American has the resources to ensure that his or her interests are being protected in this document. It’s so long and the ramifications are so broad that Congress cannot do its job to ensure that the people’s interests are safeguarded by such an agreement,” Sessions said.
Sessions has been a vocal TPP critic — reiterating Tuesday his frustration with granting the Obama administration fast track authority to pass the deal with a simple majority and no amendments.
“The TPP is about a goal of creating a new global regulatory structure, what I have called a Pacific union, transferring power from individual Americans and power from Congress once more. Eroding Congress to an unaccountable, unelected international bureaucratic committee,” the Alabamian said.
Sessions pointed specifically to the agreement’s creation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership commission.
“In other words, we are empowering the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries to create really a new Congress of sorts, a group with delegates that goes and meets and decides important issues that can impact everyday life of Americans. So the American representative in this commission, which will operate in many ways like the UN, will not be answerable to voters anywhere,” he said.
Sessions advised caution, questioning the reasoning behind the U.S. signing onto an agreement that institutes such a commission outside the Constitution, unanswerable to the people, and subject to change once instituted.
“Just remember now, when our founders of our country negotiated the Constitution, they worried about every word. They thought about what it would mean and could mean decades, centuries later,” he said.
Another item high on Sessions’ list of concerns, he said, is the lack of enforceable currency mechanism in the agreement.
“Foreign workers and governments under the TPP are not inhibited from legally undercutting workers through currency manipulation in order to export their unemployment to the United States,” Sessions said.
He explained that such a phenomenon happens when a “business in a foreign country and the world market has slowed down and your exports are slowing down, if you devalue your currency, your market — your product becomes cheaper and can be sold in the United States or other countries at a cheaper price, and you keep your people working manufacturing those widgets, whereas the country that imported your product lays off its workers because it can’t compete at that price of widgets. It’s an artificial way to gain market advantage.”
Sessions recalled a letter he wrote to Obama in May in which he pressed the president on how the TPP would affect the trade deficit, manufacturing jobs, and hourly wages. According to the Alabama senator, Obama never responded.
“Of course we want trade,” he asserted. “Of course we want to purchase things from abroad. I’m not saying we shouldn’t. What I’m saying is are we, in negotiating this trade agreement, giving even broader access to our markets without getting enough in return? That’s what I think is the problem.”
Sessions stressed that America must continue to produce and export.
“America must make things. consumption in America should be for Americans and for export. Our competitors want the opposite, and they’ve been winning,” he said. “But they need us more than we need them. Thus, we have great power to reverse this course.”
“The American people know, if the politicians don’t, that — and, figuratively speaking, some of our politicians will be pushing up daisies if they don’t listen to what the American people are saying to the sound, commonsense of the people who hold ultimate power,” he concluded. “They expect us to make sure that their interests are legitimately defended. I don’t believe this trade agreement does that.”