GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is standing up for American workers, arguing that the Senate should not give President Obama fast-track authority under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for him finalize his trade negotiations.
The Senate is set to take up a vote on TPA Tuesday following the House’s passage last week.
“You have Republican leadership lining up with a president that they virtually haven’t lined up with on anything in six and a half years,” Huckabee said during a conference call with reporters.
And then you have an interesting mix of people on the left and the right that have lined up in opposition – that would include me – and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) – one of the leading Senate critics has actually gone to the secret room and spent time reading the documents something a lot of the people pushing this have openly admitted they haven’t done.
Huckabee continued to express concern over the much-debated TAA program – Trade Adjustment Assistance – which held up the original passage of TPA in the House because Republicans and Democrats debated over how TAA will be funded. It finally passed without the TAA program.
“One of the sticky points seems to be whether or not that there will be a provision that there will be federal subsidies and federal assistance for people that are going to lose their job as a result of the trade agreement,” Huckabee said about TAA.
“I think there is an obvious question here – if this trade bill is going to create so many jobs and be so good for American workers, why are we setting aside billions of dollars to protect people that are going to lose all of these jobs that we’re supposed to create? I have not heard anyone address that,” Huckabee challenged.
He said he thinks the Senate is moving too fast on the TPA vote.
He was also questioned about his thoughts on some fellow Republican candidates, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who are supporting giving Obama fast-track trade authority through TPA.
“I find it a little disingenuous that some people who have been very opposed to President Obama’s executive overreach on issues like immigration or Obamacare or on the Second Amendment”… are supporting TPA, Huckabee explained.
He also addressed likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s recent stance – positioning herself with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and against Obama – telling Congress they shouldn’t support TPA.
Earlier reports are calling Clinton’s new stance on TPA a flip-flop, since she helped draft the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – one of the trade deals Obama would finalize if granted fast track authority – during her time as Secretary of State.
“We have a hard time understanding exactly what she does believe, and I think it’s also very evident that the thing she fears about as much as anything is a question that might cause her to have to defend something she has previously has said or done and maybe that’s why she is avoiding the kind of open press forums that most of us assume are part of running for president,” he said.
Huckabee continued, “I think that’s one of the many things Hillary Clinton needs to address – Was she for TPA before she was against it? Is she against it now? Does her position change with whatever the political polls show the predominate view?”
“Overwhelmingly, Americans right now are not in favor of pushing this forward and its one of the things that’s very confusing to me is to why Republicans would be so determined to push through something that is so very unpopular with their own constituency.”