The number of House Republicans coming out against Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is growing rapidly. The controversial measure would fast track trade deals including the highly secretive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)—collectively Obamatrade.
Approximately 40 House Republicans are on record against the deal, just a few short hours ahead of the vote. GOP leadership is getting steadily more desperate in its attempts to lobby members to support it at the 11th hour.
House Committee on Financial Services member Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) confirmed through a spokesman to Breitbart News that he does not think President Obama would negotiate trade deals with the best interest of the United States in mind, and will be voting against Obamatrade on Friday.
Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Richard Nugent (R-FL) also joined Posey on Thursday in expressing opposition to granting fast track authority to the President and also the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“Congressman went down to read it Tuesday,” Smith’s spokesman Jeff Sagnip said in an email when asked if he’s been to the secret room in the Capitol basement to read the TPP text. “He is a no vote.”
Members who are on the fence are expressing reticence and disapproval with the way House GOP leadership is trying to cram this down America’s throats before everyone understands it. Right now, the text of TPP is being held in a secret room in the Capitol basement—and the texts of T-TIP and TiSA are both so secretive they aren’t even available for review in secured facilities by members of Congress.
“As with all bills, Congressman Zeldin is reviewing the TPA legislation very closely, asking questions, and reviewing the current draft of TPP,” Jennifer DiSiena, a spokeswoman for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), said in an email.
He believes strongly that Congress must have strong oversight over the negotiation of any trade deal, as well as the final say on approval. Congressman Zeldin will not support or oppose any trade deal or any legislation that he has not had a chance to thoroughly review. The TPP is still under negotiation. There is no TPP agreement. If there is an agreement, his vote will be determined based on the substance of the deal, what it does for Long Island, our nation, and our economy.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) told Breitbart News through a spokesman he’s undecided, and several other members have expressed the same thing anonymously.
It’s so bad up on Capitol Hill that GOP leadership has enlisted some staffers in some offices to push their members to go for this—but most of the undecided or privately leaning-against-Obamatrade members aren’t budging.
“Several staffers are in the bag with lobbyists who hang around and chum with them all the time,” one House GOP aide in one of the very many House GOP offices still publicly undecided said in an email. “Pretty shady. ‘Tis the season for damn near every lobbyist in the forsaken town to cash in with their ‘buddies’ and call in their favor. Problem is, staff are having a hard time moving their bosses.”
Moreover, even members who are coming out in support of Obamatrade are having a difficult time defending their decision since none of them wants to be the next major headline in conservative media—Breitbart News or the massively influential Drudge Report–which has been closely following every Obamatrade development.
“Yes,” Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) answered when asked if he plans to vote to fast-track Obamatrade on Friday. “TPA isn’t new as every President since Gerald Ford has had this authority. In addition, we have had a variation of TPA since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”
Cramer also admitted in the emailed questions that he has not read the text of TPP—and does not plan to before the TPA vote on Friday.
“I will be reviewing the TPP bill on June 17, 2015,” Cramer said.
When asked why he trusts Obama with fast-track authority, Cramer said he wants to give Obama fast-track because he doesn’t trust him.
“We need this bill exactly because I and many in Congress don’t trust this president,” Cramer said.
TPA allows us to tell him and future presidents what a trade agreement should look like. The fact is the president can negotiate a trade deal with or without TPA – he has that authority under the constitution. One overlocked fact is the TPA legislation allows either the House or the Senate to vote and unilaterally opt out of the fast track trade negotiations. This option is an additional check upon this or any President’s trade negotiation authority. TPA inserts Congress into the trade process.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) also told Breitbart News that he plans to vote for Obamatrade, but through a spokeswoman said he did in fact go read the text of the TPP so he’ll know what he’s voting on.
“Yes, Rep. Pompeo plans to support TPA,” Heather Denker, Pompeo’s spokeswoman, said in an email, adding when asked if he’s read TPP text before voting on TPA: “Rep. Pompeo has read the text of TPP.”
Denker also argued that Pompeo believes that Congress will be empowered by Obamatrade fast track, not undercut by it, when asked why Pompeo trusts granting such authority to the president.
“The TPA puts Congress in control by setting restrictions on the President and limiting him from negotiating a deal that could be far worse,” Denker said.
This all comes as House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has taken a severe credibility hit, as he’s been caught trying to put phony fixes forward to immigration problems with Obamatrade—after previously inaccurately telling everyone the entire concern was nothing more than an “urban legend.” He made a crucial Nancy Pelosi-esque mistake during Wednesday’s House Rules Committee hearing as well, saying of Obamatrade: “It’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to.”