Exclusive – Rand Paul on Obamatrade: ‘No Sane Reason for Making the Trade Treaty Classified’

AP Photo/Nati Harnik
AP Photo/Nati Harnik

I welcome Senator Cruz to the battle against giving more power to President Obama. My consistent opposition to the Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, stems from my belief that Congress has already given too much power to the Presidency.

In fact, the single worst thing President Obama has done to our Republic is to further the collapse of the separation of powers. As our Founding Father James Madison wrote, the Constitution was intended to pit ambition against ambition. The ambition of the Congress to retain its power was to be pitted against the ambition of the President to accumulate power. But for more than a hundred years now, Congress has ceded power again and again to the President.

With TPA, Congress gives up the power to amend or filibuster trade legislation. While I think trade is a net positive, I don’t believe Congress should cede more power to this or any other President.

I oppose TPA because I oppose secrecy. There is no sane reason for making the trade treaty classified. I went to the secure room to read the trade treaty, but the 100-plus page document needs to be released to the public, to the media, and to scholars. In fact, several elected officials have yet to even read the TPA in its entirety. This is a major problem.

In the Senate I have introduced the Read the Bills Act, which requires members of Congress to read legislation before it is voted on. We would have benefited greatly if Congress actually read the Obamacare legislation before passing it, and I believe the same can be said for TPA.

As a strong supporter of free trade who has voted for three free trade agreements, I am willing to work with the administration on a compromise that ensures more transparency, but unless Congress and the American people can play a role in negotiating these agreements, I will not support them.

My opposition to the TPA is part of my broader fight to constrain and reduce the power of Washington special interests and the entrenched power brokers who benefit from the largesse of government at the expense of the average American. I pledge to continue my fight to defeat the Washington Machine by loudly and vocally rejecting any executive overreach or any backdoor deal implemented by President Obama and his administration.

The Obama administration’s consistent pattern of executive overreach and duplicity on Obamacare, immigration, and war powers makes it absolutely necessary that the American public should be allowed access to read the TPA. The Obama administration is the most overreaching administration in recent history and it is time we hold them accountable, now.


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