Exclusive — Rand Paul: Obamatrade Tax Hikes on Small Businesses Mean Republicans Should Oppose Revival Efforts

Andrew A. Nelles/AP
Andrew A. Nelles/AP

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is calling on Republicans in the House—and the grassroots nationwide—to oppose efforts by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to revive Obamatrade via a tax increase hidden inside the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) portion of the deal.

Paul said when asked to react to an article from Breitbart News from late Sunday evening exposing the tax increase in the deal:

You know typically to pass these kinds of things, the establishment will try to buy off Democrats by sprinkling money so they have some money in there. To get the money, under our budget rules, we have to pay for it—so they want to pay for it with a fine on small businesses. But I thought a point that was made in the article which was pretty good is this is similar to the fines they wanted to do in Obamacare with 1099s and there was such an outcry it’s the only part of Obamacare we ever repealed. So I think when people discover they’re sticking a tax increase in there I think people will be even more unhappy.

Paul said he recommends all Republicans vote against TAA when Ryan and House GOP leadership bring it back up on Tuesday for an attempt to revive it after it embarrassingly failed 302-126 when they tried to pass TAA last week in the House. To send Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to President Obama’s desk, TPA and TAA have to pass as a package. A bipartisan coalition formed to take down TAA last week, therefore temporarily killing Obamatrade as a whole—but House GOP leadership, at Ryan’s insistence, is going to try to change the game and pass TAA again on Tuesday despite the fact it raises taxes on small business.

Leadership didn’t tell any of the members—including the 86 Republicans who voted for TAA last week—that they put the tax increase in the deal, so most of them who voted for it had no idea they were voting to violate a pledge they all made to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. That’s largely because leadership was so dead-set on trying to convince rank-and-file Republicans to grant Obama fast-track authority under TPA—so that Obama can speed through at least three highly secretive trade deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)—because the donor class wants open borders trade so badly. Most members who support TPA didn’t even read the TPP text because it’s kept in a secretive room in the Capitol basement and only members can go in to read it—and they’re only allowed to, in certain instances, bring staffers with high enough security clearances with them. TiSA and T-TIP text is not even available for members to read, so there’s actually no way any member of Congress who supported TPA can know what it was they were actually voting for.

Paul told Breitbart News:

We borrow a million dollars a minute, so the first question I’d ask is where is the money coming from? They have a pay-for in there, but is it really a real pay-for? A lot of these pay-fors are basically set, they stick them on there as accounting gimmicks to say they’re going to pay for the money somehow. But the bottom line is they want to raise some kind of fees or fines through the IRS to get money from certain industries, so I’d say that and that this trade deal is secret, and I don’t want to give President Obama any more power.

Paul said he expects the issue of Obamatrade to be a big deal on the 2016 campaign trail. It’s already separated the field as Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and more oppose it. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-FL)–and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—among others support it.

“Everywhere I go, people come up to me and say ‘thank you for not giving the president more power’ ‘thank you for voting against TPA,’” Paul said. “So I think it does resonate with people, and we’ll see how these things shake out, but it fits my message, because I’ve been saying we gave the president too much power, and he’s tried to grab too much power on immigration, healthcare, war power and now really with trade. Part of the checks and balances is having equal amounts of power with each branch of government can jealously guard their power and I think it’s a mistake to give too much power to the president. That’s why their decision to make the treaty classified makes me suspicious—when people are not allowed to read it.”


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