Fast Track Trade Bill Faces Conservative Headwinds

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A group of conservatives who reflect a broad spectrum of the Republican Party are holding a news conference Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill to caution Congress against passing the current version of proposed Trade Promotion Authority “fast track” legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised to work with President Obama to promote trade legislation during his re-election campaign last year, and now he wants to make good on that promise.

If the TPA bill passes, the first treaty to benefit from “fast track” would be the Trans Pacific Partnership, which is currently being negotiated with a number of mostly Asian countries.

“The treaty is not final,” Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government, one of the conservatives who will speak at the press conference, told Breitbart News.

“In fact,” Manning added, “we don’t know what’s in it. We do know that this is a huge grant of authority to President Obama.”

McConnell recently confirmed that the TPA bill would cede more Congressional power to President Obama.

“It’s an enormous grant of power, obviously, from a Republican Congress to a Democratic president,” McConnell acknowledged last week.

The conservative leaders speaking at today’s press conference, who represent all three legs of the traditional Republican Party stool– national security, economics and faith-based–will caution against such an approach.

In addition to Manning, Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy, and Sandy Rios, Vice President of the American Family Association and several others will speak at the press conference.

“The bill makes it so Congress can’t amend the trade deal,” Manning said. “What Congress is doing is effectively tying its own hands.”

“What Congress should be looking at,” Manning added, “in terms of a decision to grant trade authority is not whether the treaty that is being presented to them is a good deal or a bad deal… but whether or not Congress should maintain the prerogative to make changes to it to make it in America’s interest.”

Manning sounded a cautionary note against members of Congress voluntarily giving President Obama even more of their Constitutional authority. “Weve seen this president shred the Constitution and separation of powers over the last few years for this Congress to cede even more power to him at this time is unwise at best,” Manning said.

Last week AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and several other labor leaders also announced their opposition to the proposed fast track legislation on the theory it would hurt workers.

In fact, as the New York Times reported, many Democrats oppose the bill vigorously.


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