Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, has written a scathing new letter to President Barack Obama pressuring him to explain why Obamatrade has been so secretive.
“On May 6th of this year, I sent you a letter (enclosed) regarding your request for Congress to grant you fast-track executive authority,” Session wrote to Obama on Friday in a letter provided exclusively to Breitbart News ahead of its public release. “Under fast-track, Congress transfers its authority to the executive and agrees to give up several of its most basic powers.
“These concessions include: the power to write legislation, the power to amend legislation, the power to fully consider legislation on the floor, the power to keep debate open until Senate cloture is invoked, and the constitutional requirement that treaties receive a two-thirds vote.
“The latter is especially important since, having been to the closed room to review the secret text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is clear it more closely resembles a treaty than a trade deal.
“In other words, through fast-track, Congress would be pre-clearing a political and economic union before a word of that arrangement has been made available to a single private citizen.”
The letter hones in on the new global governance, as Sessions calls it, that would be created by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—which would almost certainly be approved by Congress should the House of Representatives vote in favor of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to fast track TPP and other trade deals. TPA, which passed the Senate a couple weeks ago, would ensure—barring some unforeseen development—the congressional approval of TPP, and collectively the two have become known as Obamatrade.
“The letter, which received no reply, asked several fundamental questions Congress ought to have answered before even considering whether to grant the executive such broad new powers,” Sessions wrote to Obama on Friday referencing his previous letter. “Among those, I asked that you make public the section of the TPP that creates a new transnational governance structure known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission. The details of this new governance commission are extremely broad and have the earmarks of a nascent European Union, with many similarities.
“Reviewing the secret text, plus the secret guidance document that accompanies it, reveals that this new transnational commission – chartered with a ‘Living Agreement’ clause – would have the authority to amend the agreement after its adoption, to add new members, and to issue regulations impacting labor, immigration, environmental, and commercial policy.
“Under this new commission, the Sultan of Brunei would have an equal vote to that of the United States.”
President Obama has ignored and rejected bipartisan calls for transparency on Obamatrade, and refuses to release to the public the text of TPP that TPA would fast-track. In fact, currently, only members of Congress—and certain cleared staffers with high enough security clearances, and those staffers can only go with a member—are allowed to go into a secret room in the U.S. Capitol to go read the text of Obamatrade’s TPP component.
“The implications of this new Pacific Union are extraordinary and ought to be discussed in full, in public, before Congress even contemplates fast-tracking its creation and pre-surrendering its power to apply the constitutional two-thirds treaty vote,” Sessions wrote to Obama. “In effect, to adopt fast-track is to agree to remove the constitutional protections against the creation of global governance structures before those structures are even made public.
“I would therefore ask that you provide to me the legal and constitutional basis for keeping this information from the public and explain why I cannot share the details of what I have read with the American people. Congress should not even consider fast-tracking the transfer of sovereign power to a transnational structure before the details of that new structure are made fully available for public review.”
Just this week, it was revealed that several members of House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’s leadership team have been whipping votes for Obamatrrade but haven’t read the TPP text—and Boehner himself appears not to have as well, since his staff continues refusing to answer whether he did. House Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) are pushing Obamatrade, but haven’t gone to the room to read the TPP deal text.
In addition, it was also discovered that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—two presidential candidates on the Republican side—didn’t go to the secret room to read the TPP text before voting for TPA to fast track the Obamatrade process. That means Rubio, the only serious presidential candidate of that pair, voted on a significant piece of legislation that affects trade policy on the scale that Obamacare affects healthcare, or his “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill affects America’s sovereignty and immigration policies, without reading it.
Obama himself also revealed this week that China has been trying to add itself into the deal, and he and his administration officials have been in talks with the currency manipulator to try to make that happen.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who’s also running for president, read the TPP text after writing a Wall Street Journal op-ed with House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)—but before voting for Obamatrade.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is clearly in the best position of his fellow 2016 GOP presidential candidates in the Senate, as not only did he vote against TPP after going to the secret room to read the text, he’s become one of the loudest voices against the largely secretive process and has pushed for Obama to publicly release the deal text.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joins Rubio and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—who helped negotiate the deal during her time in Obama’s State Department—as supportive of Obamatrade, as does former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Most of the rest of the 2016 field, however, is opposed, as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and real estate mogul Donald Trump, among others, are opposed.
On the Democrat side, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont both oppose Clinton’s support for Obamatrade.
After the Senate passed the deal a couple weeks ago, the House could vote as early as next week–but GOP leadership is having extraordinary difficulty finding the votes necessary to pass this with surging bipartisan opposition to Obamatrade.