Credits: Eagle Forum
As Congress weighs granting President Obama more power through Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, also called fast-track), Eagle Forum has been warning about its risks. Now Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is listing his top five concerns with TPA:
1. Giving the President More Power: Under the rules of TPA, Congress can only vote up or down any trade agreement. Deals cannot be amended in either chamber or filibustered in the Senate. Once fast-track has been granted, it is difficult to take back until it expires. Finally, the President must report the details of an agreement to Congress at least 60 days before submitting implementing legislation, but he can classify or redact information.
2. Increased Trade Deficits: Previous trade deals such as NAFTA have increased our trade deficits, slowing down economic growth and costing Americans jobs. Manufacturing jobs are among the most vulnerable to foreign competition, yet TPA doesn't call for blocking foreign subsidies to industry.
3. Giving Up Sovereignty: The TPP is a living agreement, which "means that participating nations could both add countries to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without Congress' approval (like China), and could also change any of the terms of the agreement." Implementing legislation is written in order to change any U.S. laws at the federal, state, or local level that conflict with the international trade agreement. It is then included in the final up or down vote, meaning no deliberation or debate is allowed.
4. Currency Manipulation: Many countries such as China and Japan devalue their currencies to lower the price of their exports and make imports appear more expensive. The Obama administration has turned a blind eye to currency manipulation during negotiations, and TPA doesn't address this problem.
5. Immigration: Immigration rules can be changed without congressional approval during the implementation of TPA. Language such as "reducing or eliminating barriers to international trade in services" can be interpreted to cover immigration or visas for foreign workers. Previous trade deals have been used by the executive branch to unilaterally increase certain visas. Other countries could potentially call for international adjudication if Congress tries to reform the guest worker program.
You can find the entirely of Sen. Sessions' concerns on his website,
The House of Representatives is in recess this week, and your Congressman should be home through the 11th. Please call or visit his or her district office and let them know you are opposed to giving President Obama Fast Track authority.
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Sessions: Trade deal opens immigration floodgates, OK's future Obama changes, By Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, May 3, 2015
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