House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) joined NPR Wednesday with Steve Inskeep to stress why he says it’s important for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which grants President Obama fast-track trade authority. With TPA, Congress cannot issue any amendments to trade agreements and merely gets an up or down vote on a final trade deal.
Ryan’s go to remark when first questioned about TPA or the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – which is part of three trade deals currently being negotiated – is he needs to clarify “misperceptions.”
“We’re not considering the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There isn’t a trade agreement yet to consider. It’s not a deal, it’s still being negotiated,” Ryan said.
However, as Breitbart News previously reported and numerous Congressmen have confirmed, several hundreds of pages of Trans Pacific Partnership are available for review in a secret room only for individuals with security clearance. Therefore, there is in fact a trade deal in existence, and Australian Financial Review reported it is near completion.
“We are literally one week of negotiation away from completing this extraordinary deal across 12 countries and 40 per cent of the world’s GDP,” said Andrew Robb, Australia’s trade minister.
“What we’re considering in Congress is what we call Trade Promotion Authority, which is to give America the ability to go and negotiate a trade agreement and complete negotiations of a trade agreement, then bring the trade agreement to Congress for an up-or-down vote . . . [TPA determines] whether or not we have the ability to go and negotiate, complete negotiations and get a trade agreement,” Ryan said.
But recent research and reports by Breitbart News prove that in the past 40 years, any trade deal where the president had fast-track trade authority ended up being passed, meaning Congress didn’t stop it.
Ryan continued, “Since 2007, there have been a hundred trade agreements struck around the world without America. And that means other countries are already doing this, getting better access, getting better market access, and we’re not, and that means we lose jobs.”
Experts disagree with Ryan and have suggested the TPP – which would be fast tracked through TPA – would essentially extend NAFTA, which cost more than five million American jobs to be taken overseas and given to foreign workers.
Ironically, Ryan touted that TPA strengthens transparency and accountability on trade deals. Ryan said:
What we are demanding and insisting on in Trade Promotion Authority is not only that Members of Congress have full access to anything that’s classified for the moment, but once an agreement is actually reached between countries, that agreement must be made public, in totality, for sixty days, for the public to see before a President can even sign an agreement. And when he signs it, he simply sends it to Congress, and then Congress spends a minimum of thirty days, after sixty days, looking at the agreement, considering the agreement.
This is ironic, as the current draft of TPP is hidden from the public, and only Congressmen with security clearance are able to review it – but then not discuss it with the media or the public.
In fact, even the log where security tracks which Congressmen have actually read the agreement is kept secret – away from the public and the press.
“The reason some things are classified right now is negotiations—you don’t want to go into negotiations at any level, whether it’s private transactions, or government-to-government, with all your cards face up. That’s just the nature of negotiations,” added Ryan.
However, President George W. Bush released the text of his trade deal prior to even requesting TPA be granted by Congress – which demonstrates how a more transparent process is in fact available at this time, but not being used or demanded by Republican leadership in Congress.