tpp

Unbelievable! Congressional Republicans Are Still Fighting for TPP!

Even though Donald Trump won running against the Trans Pacific Partnership, some congressional Republicans are still pushing it.

Of course, these congressional Republicans claim they are pushing “free trade.” In my opinion, real free trade would be beneficial. But our new president-elect disagrees and he is firmly against TPP—the Trans Pacific Partnership. He campaigned against it.

Despite the massive Republican victories that Trump helped us win, congressional Republicans are betraying his platform. According to Reuters,

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady on Tuesday said Republicans should defend free trade and the party should defend the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the new Congress.

“Republicans are going to continue to support the freedom to trade,” the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said.

When it comes to the controversial TPP, which president-elect Donald Trump has opposed, Brady said the plan was defensible.

Brady uses the typical political ruse of claiming that they can “fix the problems that exist” with the TPP and then pass it.

TPP contains provisions that have been found in other treaties. The Guardian explains,

It grants an investor the right to use private dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government, yet governments cannot sue the investors. The system is neither transparent nor accountable and often results in aberrant judgments without the possibility of appeal. Over the years, it has led to inconsistent, unpredictable and arbitrary awards contrary to national and international public order.

An example of how this works comes from Uruguay.

More recently, Philip Morris sued Uruguay after it adopted a number of anti-tobacco regulations with a view to implementing the 2003 World Health Organisation’s framework convention on tobacco control, aimed at tackling the health dangers posed by tobacco. A decision from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes is expected later in 2015, but the figures are telling: Philip Morris is claiming $25m in compensation from Uruguay.

Note, that the lawsuit claimed damages because the government imposed bigger warning labels. I don’t think that is the government’s job, but the lawsuit is an outrage against Uruguay’s sovereignty.

That is a major issue in the TPP and one that would take years to renegotiate if they tried to do that. In the meantime, none of us would be able to verify that the needed changes were taking place, because the details of the treaty are kept secret until shortly before Congress gets to vote on it. And then, Congress is not allowed to offer amendments because a past Congress voted to give the President “extra authority.” They can only vote for or against the law, but not change it.

That process is completely illegal. If the Constitution doesn’t grant the President that much power, then how can Congress give him that level of authority? They are illegally amending the Constitution. Even if you think TPP would be good, no conservative can condone such actions by the government.

And why is Brady suggesting this now, when Trump has just won a historic election against these trade deals? One wonders if congressional Republicans are still planning on passing TPP during the lame duck session.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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