SAN ANTONIO, Texas — In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) shared his criticisms of the “Obamatrade” bills currently being debated in Congress. While Perry emphasized that he is a strong supporter of free trade, his lack of trust in President Barack Obama and the president’s poor negotiating skills left Perry with grave concerns, and unable to support the legislation.
“I always like to preface all of this with, I’m a free trader, I’m for selling American products everywhere,” said Perry. “I’m a very strong proponent of economic development and trade. America can compete with anybody in the world…you give us a level playing field, and American workers will compete anywhere in the world. And we make good products, and our agricultural products are the best in the world.”
However, said Perry, it was critical for trade deals to be “transparent,” especially because of his concerns about Obama.
“I don’t trust this President,” said Perry. “I mean, I’m honest about it, I just don’t trust him, partly because I don’t think he’s a very good negotiator. But second, I think philosophically, his ideas about economic development and trade are very different and I think they’re out of line with most Americans.”
Perry was careful to distinguish between the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill under which Congress would grant “fast track negotiating authority” to the President that would limit the lawmakers ability to amend a trade deal in exchange for imposing a list of restrictions, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade deal between the U.S. and Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Chile. The President has been lobbying Congress heavily to pass TPA to give him more power in the TPP negotiations.
As Breitbart News reported, the Senate originally passed a version of the TPA bill that included Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which would provide aid to American workers who lost their jobs because of trade policy. Last week, that package was voted down in the House of Representatives when it rejected the TAA provisions. Once the TAA segment was removed through some “complicated procedural chicanery,” a TPA bill narrowly passed the House on Thursday afternoon with a 218-208 vote. TPA now heads back to the Senate for a vote next week, without the TAA language.
Perry told Breitbart News that he was supportive of the concept of TPA, “because that’s what’s going to force the President, any President, to be transparent with the American people and with Congress.” However, he quickly added, the bigger issue was that the Obama administration could not be trusted, pointing to their misrepresentations about Obamacare, and poor negotiating skills regarding the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran and the removal of Cuba from the list of the State Sponsors of Terrorism.
“I don’t trust this administration,” Perry repeated for emphasis, “and I’ve been very critical about the negotiations that went on [with Cuba and Iran], so I’m in a conundrum from the standpoint of I’m for transparency but I can’t get comfortable with this administration is going to negotiate in good faith.”
“Basically,” concluded Perry, “I’m not for going forward until there’s substantially better evidence that this administration’s going to be transparent in trade deals.”
“I would rather Barack Obama not be negotiating for me right now, but he’s going to be there for about 20 more months, and this deal needs to be transparent, and that’s my greatest concern — is the lack of transparency in this piece of legislation,” Perry said in Iowa, according to the Texas Tribune.
“Until the public and Congress are comfortable that they know what’s in this trade agreement, I’m not going to recommend that they sign it, and if we have to wait until there’s a new president, then that’s OK,” Perry added.
More of Breitbart News’ exclusive interview with Gov. Perry will be posted soon, including his perspective on how this campaign differs from his 2012 attempt, thoughts on criminal justice reform, the vital role his wife Anita plays in the campaign, why he believes that his record stacks up favorably against any of his competitors, what he believes will be a major challenge for former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), and a special memory he shared about time he spent with Breitbart News founder, the late Andrew Breitbart.
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