I recently voted against giving the President so-called “Fast Track” authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific trade bill. I have voted against giving this power to both Republican and Democratic Presidents for many reasons.
First, it requires Congress to give up the right to even offer amendments, thus giving far too much power to the executive branch.
Second, with only four percent of the world’s population, we buy 25% of the world’s goods. This means every country is chomping at the bit to get into our markets and we have tremendous leverage on trade that we simply have not used.
Third, while it is more convenient for big, multi-national companies to have multi-national trade agreements, it could be much better for small or medium sized American businesses to have individual trade agreements with each country. We need to tell other countries---especially China---we want to trade with you ---we want to buy things from you, but you need to buy some things from us. It is not good, in the long run, for us to have trade deficits in the hundreds of billions each year.
We need trade with all other countries, but unfair trade has too often meant we have traded high-paying jobs for low-paying ones.
This latest trade bill has also been negotiated with far too much secrecy. Some of what has leaked out has not been good.
Yale law professor David Grewal, writing in the American Conservative Magazine, and Dick Morris in the Hill newspaper, both blasted something called the “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanisms.
This ISDS procedure would give “foreign corporations the right to sue national governments for regulations that interfere with their expected profits” and “allows multinational litigants to bypass national courts…”
So much for American sovereignty. Already we are told we cannot place a small fee on the billions of containers coming from China because it would violate the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which I also voted against.
More on Trade
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Business and Industry Council (USBIC) recognized Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) Wednesday for his “courageous” recent vote against Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a legislative tool that allows trade bills to be fast-tracked through Congress.
The USBIC presented Rep. Duncan with the Defender of the American Economy Award, recognizing his “principled” vote against TPA and in support of Main Street businesses and manufacturers.