Cruz: TPA Doesn’t Give Obama More Power, Jeff Sessions ‘Not Accurate’ On TPP

Texas Senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz argued Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) “is not giving the president more authority” and that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is “not accurate” in some of his claims regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Friday’s broadcast of “The Kuhner Report” on Boston’s WRKO.

Cruz argued that he had been the staunchest opponent of President Barack Obama in Congress. He then separated TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) and the TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership). He touched on TPA first, stating that “history has demonstrated, the only way to get a trade agreement adopted is with fast-track. Since FDR, consistently, for 80 years, presidents in both parties have had fast-track. Anytime fast-track has lapsed, trade agreements don’t get negotiated.” He later added that it was a “misunderstanding” to say TPA gave away the Senate’s treaty power. Cruz stated that “Under the Constitution, there are two ways to make binding law. Number one, you can pass a treaty ratified by 2/3ds of the Senate. Or number two, you can pass legislation passed by a majority of both of houses of Congress and signed by the president. … TPA uses the second constitutional path.” And “it’s been long recognized that the Constitution’s Origination Clause applies to trade bills, which means the House of Representatives has to be involved. There’s a reason why trade bills have historically not been done as treaties, because the Constitution says that anything concerning the raising of revenues, and trade bills concern tariffs, which are the raising of revenues, has to originate in the House of Representatives. So, the process of approving a trade agreement through both houses of Congress has been the way it has been done for roughly a century. And it is not giving the president more authority.”

Regarding TPP, Cruz said he was undecided because there was no “actual agreement” regarding TPP. He later blasted classification of the text of TPP as “idiotic.” He continued that claims made by Senator Jeff Sessions were “not accurate…this trade agreement, now, at least the current draft…does not impact, change, alter, or effect US immigration law. There is a brief section in the TPP that concerns issues of immigration, but explicitly, the United States doesn’t join that section.” He further pointed to his amendment to prevent trade agreements from impacting immigration that the House agreed to include. Cruz continued, “Beyond that, the notion of giving up sovereignty and an international body that can alter US law, Jeff, I have spent 20 years fighting to defend United States sovereignty. There is no one in the Senate who has been a stronger opponent of international bodies taking away our authority. … And it is simply false that the TPP trade agreement gives up our sovereignty. There is nothing in TPA or TPP that can give a foreign body the ability to make binding law in the United States of America under our Constitution.” Although, he stated that it was natural and understandable people would be suspicious of a secret agreement.

He added that “if this president tried to slip something in, it would have to be approved by Congress, and by the way, under the terms of fast-track, TPA, any trade agreement, including the TPP, must be public at least 60 days, the text of it, before it’s voted on.”

Later, Cruz conceded that while he hasn’t “studied” TPP “the way one would for weeks and weeks on end, the way one would during the 60 days when it is public. In a six, seven-hundred page agreement can there be things buried in a footnote that one doesn’t see? Sure,” Sessions’ claims that TPP would undermine US law are “not accurate.”

He concluded that the Obama administration would like people to blame job losses on free trade, but that free trade is not to blame for job losses.

(h/t The Right Scoop)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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