To Save Obamatrade, Paul Ryan Hijacks Bill That Helps Firefighters, As Pelosi Did With Obamacare

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The path of destruction House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is blazing to sneak Obamatrade past unsuspecting Americans is getting longer and wider. Now it’s become clear he’s using firefighters, of all people, to get it done.

To engage in the complicated procedural chicanery needed to revive the once-dead Obamatrade, bringing its Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) portion back to life, Ryan needed to gut a previous bill that has passed the House and Senate and then insert Obamatrade into it. It’s actually a very similar process to how Obamacare passed the House.

So, the bill Ryan chose was one that helps firefighters—and now those firefighters are fuming.

“On behalf of more than 300,000 professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, I strongly urge you to oppose H.Res.321 which attaches Trade Promotion Authority to HR 2146, the Defending Public Safety Employee’s Retirement Act,” Harold Schaitberger, the general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, wrote to all members of Congress on Thursday morning. Schaitberger adds:

The underlying legislation provides an important measure of retirement security to the federal fighters who protect our nation’s defense installations, VA hospitals and other vital facilities. It should not be politically exploited and used in a last ditch, desperate effort to pass TPA. HR 2146, which simply enables federal fire fighters to access their own retirement savings once they reach retirement age, was passed by the House by a vote of 407-5 and adopted unanimously in the Senate with a technical amendment. This amended legislation deserves to be considered free of political gamesmanship and procedural tricks.

The IAFF urges you to oppose this rule, and consider HR 2146 without controversial amendments.

It’s unclear what will happen when the bill comes up for a final vote later Thursday, but Ryan may lose votes from Republicans and Democrats due to the pure level of misleading and chicanery he and leadership have been engaged in.


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