Yes On Trade Promotion Authority… Which Does Not Mean Yes On The Trans Pacific Partnership (Andrew C. McCarthy)

Yes On Trade Promotion Authority… Which Does Not Mean Yes On The Trans Pacific Partnership – Andrew C. McCarthy

.

.
TPA is “Trade Promotion Authority” legislation currently being considered by Congress. TPP is the “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the pact the Obama administration is currently negotiating with several Asia Pacific nations. As the editors point out today, the two are not one and the same and they should not be conflated.

The rationale that, because President Obama abuses executive authority, he should be denied any tool that enhances executive authority is a worthy rule of thumb. But its premise is that executive authority is actually being enhanced in a manner that Congress cannot check. That, as our editorial explains, is simply not true when it comes to TPA.

The contention that TPA is unconstitutional is meritless. In our system, as Jefferson put it, “the transaction of business with foreign nations is executive altogether,” and “exceptions are to be strictly construed.” In the case of trade agreements, those exceptions include the Senate’s power over the approval of treaties and the powers of Congress over both foreign commerce and any legislation necessary to implement a trade agreement. TPA is not only fully compliant with, but reinforcing of, this constitutional arrangement.

Foreign countries should not be made to negotiate with both the president and Congress in striking a deal. It is enough for them to know (as Senator Tom Cotton outlined in connection with President Obama’s Iran deal) that any agreement the president makes is subject to congressional approval if it is to have the force of law. Since the point of a trade agreement is to structure a legal framework for international commerce, we must thus infer that the countries negotiating such a deal want a workable legal structure. Our constitutional division of authorities between the president and Congress gives foreign nations an incentive not to press for terms the president will not be able to sell at home – thus strengthening the president’s negotiating position.

Meanwhile, whether the international agreement in question is deemed a treaty or an agreement requiring implementing legislation, Congress gets the final say on whether the agreement is approved.

To claim that this deprives Congress of its ability to shape the deal is as specious as claiming that the president’s limited power to sign or veto legislation deprives him of the ability to shape congressional statutes. In our system, the president gets to negotiate deals with other nations; if Congress does not like the deal – if it concludes that the bad outweighs the good – lawmakers can and should vote “no,” sending the president back to the drawing board. That is how it is supposed to work.

To my mind, there is no more promiscuous practice in the formulation of multilateral agreements than the Senate’s addition of caveats and reservations to rationalize approving objectionable treaties. The way the international law game gets played, these caveats and reservations get marginalized and the “law” becomes the unadorned text of the treaty accepted by the signatory nations. That is, the treaty in effect becomes the agreement as signed by the president, not the ratified agreement the Senate thought it had successfully amended. We would be much better off if, instead of deluding itself with caveats and reservations, the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, forcing the president to either abandon the agreement or go back to the negotiating table and fight for acceptance of the Senate’s demands.

It is the same thing with multilateral agreements that are not regarded as treaties. There should be a clear international agreement that Congress can either approve or reject. To contort the agreement with legislative caveats injects ambiguity into the duties and benefits the negotiating nations believed they were agreeing to. Moreover, it probably won’t work: Within a short time, the international law professors will tell us that the text of the original agreement – not the agreement as Congress amended it – has transmogrified into binding international law… and the State Department will say we really have no choice but to accept the consensus of “the international community.”

Better to let the president make the agreements and let Congress say “yes” or “no” – and be ready to say “no,” not con itself into thinking it can materially improve a bad deal.

Finally, as the editorial elucidates, agreeing to TPA is not agreeing to TPP.

I confess to being troubled by reports about the secrecy in which TPP negotiations and drafts have been shrouded, although these reports may be overwrought – something I’ll address in a subsequent post. If there is, in fact, a lack of sufficient transparency on TPP, it makes perfect sense for lawmakers to condition support for TPA on better transparency. That kind of leveraging is a routine part of the legislative process. It is also especially appropriate when dealing with a president who has a long record of mendacity, lawlessness, and the exploitation of complex legal arrangements to reward cronies.

Nevertheless, if we assume for argument’s sake that TPP is a bad deal, that would be a good reason to vote down TPP. It would not be a good reason to oppose TPA.

.
————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Related article:

.
The Secrecy Complaints About TPP Are Also Meritless – Andrew C. McCarthy

In yesterday’s post, I argued – in agreement with NR’s editorial – that it is a mistake to conflate (a) the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact that the Obama administration is still negotiating with (b) Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that would grant the president the ability to seek an up-or-down vote from Congress on trade deals (including TPP) on a reasonably swift time frame. TPA is a good idea, is fully constitutional, and would not prevent Congress from rejecting a bad trade deal – which is exactly what Congress should do in the case of TPP if it turns out to be a bad deal. In a column on the homepage today, I examine another objection TPP opponents raise: the purported secrecy in which the agreement is shrouded. As readers will see, this objection is a red herring which confuses the draft agreement (the work in progress that the administration has made available to Congress under restrictive terms while it conducts the sensitive negotiations) with the final agreement (which will be available to both the public and Congress long before Congress is asked to vote on TPP legislation).

As today’s column relates:

There is no requirement for the executive branch to show Congress anything that is preliminary. The only agreement that is going to be voted on is the final agreement – at least if Obama wants that agreement to have the force of American law.

Significantly, with respect to that final agreement – which, to repeat, does not exist yet – the transparency protocols are apparently extensive. According to AEI’s Claude Barfield, the legislation will provide that the actual text of the final TPP agreement must be available not just to Congress but to the public for 60 days before the president is permitted to sign it. After that, if he wants the agreement to have the force of American law, the president must formally submit the final agreement to Congress, which would then have 90 days to review and vote on it.

That is, the supposedly “secret” TPP may not be approved until the public and our representatives in Congress have five months to scrutinize it.

If Dr. Barfield is correct, and I have found nothing to suggest otherwise, then the complaints about a secret deal being rammed through Congress and foisted on an unsuspecting public – à la Obamacare – are risible.

The full column is here.

.

The Reds And The Blues: Who’s For The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act, And Who’s Against It?


YEAS

These Are The Republican Members Of Congress With An American Conservative Union Rating Of 90 Or Above Who Support The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Representative Joe Barton – 92
Representative Marsha Blackburn – 96
Representative John Boehner – 94
Representative Steve Chabot – 92
Representative Mike Conaway – 92
Senator John Cornyn – 92
Senator Tom Cotton – 100
Senator Mike Crapo – 92
Senator Ted Cruz – 100
Representative Ron DeSantis – 100
Representative Scott DesJarlais – 100
Senator Jeff Flake – 92
Representative Trey Gowdy – 92
Senator Chuck Grassley – 92
Representative Tom Graves – 92
Representative Jeb Hensarling – 96
Representative George Holding – 96
Representative Tim Huelskamp – 96
Senator Jim Inhofe – 92
Senator Ron Johnson – 96
Representative Doug LaMalfa – 96
Senator James Lankford – 94
Representative Kenny Marchant – 96
Representative Tom McClintock – 100
Representative Jeff Miller – 92
Representative Randy Neugebauer – 96
Representative Robert Pittenger – 92
Representative Mike Pompeo – 100
Representative Tom Price – 92
Senator James Risch – 92
Representative Ed Royce – 92
Senator Marco Rubio – 96
Representative Matt Salmon – 96
Representative Steve Scalise – 96
Representative David Schweikert – 100
Senator Tim Scott – 96
Representative Austin Scott – 92
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner – 100
Representative Marlin Stutzman – 96
Representative Randy Weber – 100
Representative Roger Williams – 100

These Are The Democrat Members Of Congress With An American Conservative Union Rating Of 0 Who Support The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Representative Ami Bera
Representative Susan Davis
Representative John Delaney
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Tim Kaine
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Bill Nelson

These Are The Republican Governors Who Support The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Robert Bentley – Alabama
Terry Branstad – Iowa
Sam Brownback – Kansas
Phil Bryant – Mississippi
Mary Fallin – Oklahoma
Gary Herbert – Utah
Susana Martinez – New Mexico
Mike Pence – Indiana
Pete Ricketts – Nebraska
Brian Sandoval – Nevada
Rick Scott – Florida
Scott Walker – Wisconsin

These Are The Democrat Governors Who Support The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Steve Beshear – Kentucky
John Hickenlooper – Colorado

These Are The Conservative Organizations That Support The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

60 Plus Association
Advance Arkansas Institute
American Commitment
American Conservative Union
American Enterprise Institute
Americans For Job Security
Americans For Tax Reform
Cardinal Institute For West Virginia Policy
Center For Individual Freedom
Citizens For Limited Taxation
Club For Growth
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Conservative Reform Network
Council For Citizens Against Government Waste
Crossroads GPS
Digital Liberty
Ending Spending
Frontiers Of Freedom
Georgia Center Right Coalition
Institute For Liberty
Institute For Policy Innovation
Minnesota Center-Right Coalition
National Taxpayers Union
Property Rights Alliance
R Street Institute
Rio Grande Foundation
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
The Jeffersonian Project
Thomas Jefferson Institute For Public Policy​

These Are The Leftist Organizations That Support The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Progressive Coalition For American Jobs

=============================================

NAYS

These Are The Republican Members Of Congress With An American Conservative Union Rating Of 90 Or Above Who Oppose The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Representative Jim Bridenstine – 96
Representative Michael Burgess – 92
Representative Jeff Duncan – 100
Representative John Fleming – 96
Representative Scott Garrett – 96
Representative Louie Gohmert – 96
Representative Paul Gosar – 92
Representative Jim Jordan – 100
Senator Mike Lee – 100
Representative Cynthia Lummis – 92
Representative Mark Meadows – 96
Representative Mick Mulvaney – 95
Senator Rand Paul – 96
Representative Scott Perry – 96
Representative Bill Posey – 92
Representative Dana Rohrabacher – 96
Senator Jeff Sessions – 96

These Are The Democrat Members Of Congress With An American Conservative Union Rating Of 0 Who Oppose The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Representative Alma Adams
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Representative Tim Bishop
Representative John Carney
Representative William Clay
Representative Emanuel Cleaver
Representative Jim Clyburn
Senator Dick Durbin
Representative Bill Foster
Representative Steny Hoyer
Representative Tim Johnson
Representative Marcy Kaptur
Representative Ann Kuster
Senator Pat Leahy
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Chris Murphy
Representative Patrick Murphy
Representative Donald Norcross
Representative David Price
Representative Cedric Richmond
Senator Brian Schatz
Representative Brad Sherman
Senator Chuck Schumer
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Tom Udall

These Are The Republican Governors Who Oppose The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Chris Christie – New Jersey
Bobby Jindal – Louisiana

These Are The Democrat Governors Who Oppose The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Jay Nixon – Missouri

These Are The Conservative Organizations That Oppose The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Americans For Limited Government
Eagle Forum
Heritage Action For America

These Are The Leftist Organizations That Oppose The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act.

Association Of Flight Attendants – CWA
AFL-CIO
American Federation Of Government Employees
American Foreign Service Association
American Federation Of State, County And Municipal Employees
American Federation Of Teachers
Alliance For Justice
Air Line Pilots Association
American Postal Workers Union
International Union Of Bricklayers And Allied Craftworkers
Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers And Grain Millers’ International Union
Commonwealth Association Of School Administrators
Chicago Federation Of Labor
Consumers Union
Credo Action
Civil Service Employees Association
Communications Workers Of America
Democracy For America
Doctors Without Borders
Farm Labor Organizing Committee
Global Trade Watch
Glass, Molders, Pottery International Union
International Association Of Fire Fighters
International Association Of Machinists And Aerospace Workers
International Alliance Of Theatrical Stage Employees
International Brotherhood Of Boilermakers
International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers
International Brotherhood Of Teamsters
International Federation Of Professional & Technical Engineers
International Longshoremen’s Association
International Longshore And Warehouse Union
International Union Of Operating Engineers
International Union Of Painters and Allied Trades
Laborers’ International Union Of North America
North America’s Building Trades Unions
National Association Of Letter Carriers
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
National Education Association
National Football League Players Association
National Nurses United
National Postal Mail Handlers Union – LIUNA
National Taxi Workers’ Alliance
Operative Plasterers’ And Cement Masons’ International Association
Office And Professional Employees International Union
Oregon Fair Trade Campaign
Retail, Wholesale And Department Store Union
The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists
Service Employees International Union
Sierra Club
Seafarers International Union
International Association Of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail And Transportation Workers
Transportation Communications International Union-IAM
Transport Workers Union Of America
United Association
United Automobile Workers
United Brotherhood Of Carpenters
United Food And Commercial Workers International Union
United Mine Workers Of America:
UNITE HERE
United Steelworkers
Utility Workers Union Of America

.

DHS Agent Stripped Of Gun, Nearly Lost Daughter After Blowing Whistle On Corrupt Visa Program

DHS Agent Says She Was Stripped Of Gun, Nearly Lost Daughter After Blowing Whistle On Immigration Visa Program – Daily Caller

.

.
A Department of Homeland Security agent testified Thursday that she nearly lost custody of her 1-year-old adopted daughter and was told that she could not own a personal firearm after she voiced concerns about a little known federal program that grants green cards to foreign investors.

Taylor Johnson, a senior special agent with a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), testified at a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing alongside several other whistleblowers who claim they’ve faced retaliation for reporting wrongdoing in their agencies.

Johnson, an 11-year veteran of ICE, said she began investigating a U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) program called EB-5. The program grants green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. companies.

Johnson testified that during her investigation she uncovered and disclosed gross mismanagement and public corruption that posed “national security risks” and threatened public safety.

“Some of the violations investigated surrounding the project included bank and wire fraud, and I discovered ties to organized crime and high-ranking politicians and they received promotions that appeared to facilitate the program,” Johnson testified.

She said that during her investigation she “discovered that EB-5 applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia had been approved in as little as 16 days” and that case files “lacked the basic and necessary law enforcement queries.”

“I found over 800 operational EB-5 regional centers throughout the U.S.,” Johnson said, stating that she found this “disturbing” given that the U.S. allows only 10,000 EB-5 applications per year.

“I could not identify how USCIS was holding each regional center accountable or how they were tracked once they were inside the U.S.,” she added.

Johnson’s testimony comes as the EB-5 program is under intense scrutiny from a damning report released in March by DHS’ inspector general, John Roth. Roth’s report concluded that former USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas, now the second-in-command at DHS, intervened in an “unprecedented” manner to help expedite EB-5 applications.

Some of those who Mayorkas was in contact with include Nevada U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Mayorkas met with Reid to discuss an EB-5 application for the Sands Casino, a Las Vegas casino which employed Reid’s son’s law firm.

Mayorkas was in routine contact with McAuliffe who aggressively pushed for EB-5 approval for his company, GreenTech Automotive. Hillary Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, was also involved in that deal.

It is unclear if Johnson investigated Mayorkas or any applications involving Reid or McAuliffe.

After receiving complaints from “high-ranking officials” at outside agencies, Johnson’s managers shut down her investigation, she testified. From there, she says she was “subjected to a significant amount of harassment and retaliation.”

Blowback started when she was escorted from her work desk and prohibited from accessing her case files or other personal records.

She also said that her service firearm and credentials were confiscated. But the gun grab went further.

“I was told I couldn’t even carry or own a personal weapon which is a constitutional rights violation,” Johnson said.

Johnson grew emotional during one part of her testimony when she discussed how the retaliation she faced hit home, literally.

“When an adoption social worker tried to contact and verify employment, she was told that I had been terminated for a criminal offense,” Johnson said, her voice shaky.

“I almost lost my 1-year-old child.”

Watch:

.

.

.

*AUDIO* Ted Cruz Discusses The TPA And TPP Agreements On The Jeff Kuhner Radio Program (06/12/15)


PART 1

.
PART 2

.

.

*VIDEO* Bill Whittle Presents: Setting The Record Straight – History Lessons You Never Learned In School


THE RAPE OF POCAHONTAS: DID WE EVISCERATE THE NATIVE AMERICANS?

.

.

*AUDIO* Mark Steyn: American Universities And Fluffy-Bunny Totalitarianism


.

.

Hitlery’s State Department Accused Of Covering Up Sex Crimes Investigation (Video)

Ugly: State Department Scandal Deepens Amidst New Sordid Allegations – Townhall

.

.
To be clear, we’re talking about the most recent mess at State – not the lethal parade of failures known as “Benghazi.” Keeping these scandals straight is getting exhausting. Katie wrote yesterday about CBS News’ report on damning findings of an Inspector General investigation into Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The basics:

CBS News has uncovered documents that show the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within their ranks. The Diplomatic Security Service, or the DSS, is the State Department’s security force, charged with protecting the secretary of state and U.S. ambassadors overseas and with investigating any cases of misconduct on the part of the 70,000 State Department employees worldwide… according to an internal State Department Inspector General’s memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” – a problem the report says was “endemic.” The memo also reveals details about an “underground drug ring” was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.

So we have a drug ring, an “endemic” prostitution problem among Hillary Clinton’s security detail, and pattern of alleged sexual assault in Beirut (where, by the way, our embassy astoundingly isn’t up to snuff on security measures), investigations into which were manipulated or terminated by State Department higher-ups. As we know from the Benghazi matter, they’re hyper-sensitive about bad political optics. The CBS News story also mentioned the IG’s discovery that one US Ambassador “routinely ditched” security to solicit prostitutes in a public park. The Ambassador in question was recalled to Washington, then sent on his merry way by by Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy – a familiar name from the Benghazi imbroglio. It gets worse. The ambassador in question is also alleged to have solicited sexual acts from “minor children,” according to NBC News:

The ambassador who came under investigation “routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to documents obtained by NBC News…Former State Department investigator Aurelia Fedenisn has said that investigators dropped the ball in the case, and that a final report published in March of this year was “watered down,” according to her attorney. “She felt it was important that Congress get this information,” Fedenisn’s lawyer Cary Schulman told NBC News.

Did the State Department keep a known (or at least heavily suspected) pedophile on the job, try to block the investigation, then “water down” the final report? State denies any undue influence on internal probes, and the ambassador is decrying the allegations “smears.” Who is he? The New York Post unearths a name with deep financial ties to President Obama and Democrats:

A DS agent was called off a case against US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman over claims that he solicited prostitutes, including minors. “The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team… were well aware of the behavior.” Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation ceased, and the ambassador remains in place, according to the memo. Gutman was a big Democratic donor before taking the post, having raised $500,000 for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and helping finance his inaugural.

Why did Kennedy “order the investigation ceased”? The Post story also notes that Clinton’s Secretary of State Cheryl Mills – you remember her, too, right? – personally involved herself in a separate investigation, effectively shutting it down.

.

.

.