Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) reacts to the procedural vote that allowed a trade measure to advance in the Senate on Friday night:
Under fast-track, Congress transfers its most basic legislative powers to the Executive for six years. Any yet-unseen global pacts, no matter how sweeping, are guaranteed a “fast-track” to congressional adoption. No amendments. No ability to strike any offending provision. And no chance to apply either the 60- or 67-vote thresholds used for important legislation and treaties.
I asked the President how his fast-tracked proposals would impact jobs, wages, and trade deficits. He would not answer. The bill’s promoters also refused to answer when asked whether their proposal would reduce net manufacturing jobs in the United States. That is because they know it will. Like the South Korean trade deal—which doubled our trade deficit after promises of a trade renaissance—this proposal will widen further our trade deficits and eliminate jobs.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership opens our markets to foreign imports, but allows foreign countries to continue closing their market to ours.
Our country has not been engaged in reciprocal free trade but, as the Chairman Emeritus of Nucor Steel explained, “the enablement of foreign mercantilism” and “unilateral trade disarmament.” We have allowed state-dominated and mercantilist trading partners to maintain their varied and elaborate non-tariff barriers, exporting their unemployment to our shores.
Stubbornly, our political elites have treated trade as a matter of religion. To them, there is no such thing as a bad deal. They know American workers lose jobs when we allow trading partners to cheat. But they insist it is all for the greater good. This is why the American worker keeps ending up on the losing end.
Fast-track will also lock into passage a new global governance authority known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission. Chartered with a “Living Agreement,” this new transnational commission will be able to amend the agreement after its adoption. Among other things, this could empower the President to expand the admission of foreign workers without congressional approval. We are creating another unelectable, unaccountable, unanswerable bureaucracy that can tie down and frustrate American sovereignty.
Congress is forgetting its duty: to improve jobs and wages for Americans.”