Sen. Sessions Myth-Busts Obama Trade Effort

Barbasol

Well-Known Member
With the Senate poised to vote to end debate on Obama’s fast-track trade legislation,

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
is continuing his assault on the effort.
Wednesday, Sessions took on arguments for the trade deal with a series of what he office says are “myths” versus “truths” about the trade deal under consideration in Congress.

In the myth buster account, Sessions’ office says not only will fast-track erode congressional power over the trade process but the trade agreements implemented under that authority will trump U.S. law.

Myth: Trade agreements implemented under fast-track will not supersede existing U.S. law.

Truth: Every trade agreement negotiated by the President and foreign governments is accompanied by implementing legislation which necessarily supersedes existing law. Proponents of fast-track are relying on semantics: the trade agreement itself will not supersede existing law, but the “fast-tracked” legislation implementing the trade agreement will. What’s more, the Trans-Pacific Partnership—which would be fast-tracked by TPA—will give jurisdiction to international tribunals to settle disputes between parties to the agreement.

Myth: Congress will have more control over the trade process under fast-track.

Truth: If Congress gives the Executive six-year fast-track authority, the Senate will cede its ability to amend any future legislation implementing any yet-unseen global trade and regulatory pact; cede its ability to control debate over that pact; and cede its ability to subject that pact to the 67-vote threshold required for treaties, as well as the 60-vote threshold required for important legislation. Proponents of fast-track suggest the negotiating objectives somehow bind the Administration; this is false. The negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership are nearly complete and have been ongoing for years, long before any negotiating objectives will have been suggested. Moreover, the negotiating objectives are vague and lack any meaningful enforcement mechanisms—particularly enforcement from Senators and Representatives not on the revenue committees. Congress will be giving up the only leverage it has: the ability to amend legislation or to refuse to cut-off debate. No fast-tracked deal has ever been defeated, regardless of whether fast-track “objectives” have been ignored, overlooked, or violated by the Executive.

Myth: Congress is ceding no institutional powers under fast-track.

Truth: By eliminating its own powers of review and amendment, Congress would dramatically shift the carefully calibrated balance of power between Congress and the President. Fast-track would ensure that the President has complete discretion over the drafting of international agreements Congress has never even seen.

The myth busters continue to attack the idea that Congress can simply block a deal the president negotiates but that it does not like. In fact, the office argues, history belies that assertion.

Myth: If the President ignores the negotiating objectives, Congress can simply block the deal.

Truth: A fast-tracked trade deal has never been blocked. By denying members any opportunity to slow debate, mobilize the public by seeking extra time, amend the deal, or seek a better deal, fast-tracked legislation is always ratified no matter how flawed. The train will have left the station once fast-track is adopted. Without any possibility of a 60-vote, let alone 67-vote, threshold in the Senate, this final check will have been removed. Additionally, the revenues and rules committees have exclusive control over enforcement, eliminating the ability of rank-and-file members to hold the Administration accountable for violations. Those saying Congress can just vote down a bad trade deal ignore the unbroken cycle of history.

They further contend that even if Congress were to preempt history and block an agreement, there would still be an agreement in the balance.

Myth: If, for the first time ever, Congress somehow did manage to block a fast-tracked deal, there is no further threat to U.S sovereignty.

Truth: Even if Congress declines to implement a trade agreement, the President’s signature will already be on it, opening the U.S. up to judgments before an international arbitration body known as the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), or perhaps even before the WTO. An offshoot of the World Bank, ICSID exists to hear disputes between international companies and foreign governments, at all levels. Congress ratified a 1965 treaty which stipulated that any ICSID awards will be binding as if awarded by a U.S. court, and the Vienna Convention—which the State Department generally considers “customary international law”—states that the President’s signature on the agreement obligates the U.S. not to “frustrate the purpose” of a trade agreement. As such, the President’s signature alone could put many U.S. industries and localities at risk, not to mention binding Congress’ ability to pass future laws without significant international consequences.

The office continues to warn about the effects not only on U.S. sovereignty, but also on U.S. immigration laws.

Myth: Fast-track has protections for U.S. sovereignty.

Article Continues: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/05/20/sen-sessions-myth-busts-obama-trade-effort/
 
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