Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is one of the few members of Congress who has taken the time to jump through the hoops and read the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But, he has gone a step farther than other members – he told members of Congress what he read. He told the truth about what the TPP says and why Congress should oppose it in a five page letter to his colleagues.
Sessions’ action flies in the face of the threats made by the US Trade Representative to prosecute elected officials who tell people what is in the trade agreement. Others should follow his example and get out the truth about the TPP.
The debate in the Senate begins on Tuesday, May 19. This is an opportunity for Senators to tell their colleagues the truth about what is in the TPP. Sessions’ “Dear Colleague” letter was leaked and reported in Breitbart. Senators from both parties may want to take a similar approach. Even better, during the debate on the Senate floor there will be an opportunity for amendments that expose problems with the TPP. Senators can tell their colleagues and, through C-SPAN, their constituents the truth about what is in the TPP.
How Senator Sessions Exposed the Truth About TPP
Breitbart has written two articles on Sessions’ revelations. In “Critical Alert: Jeff Sessions Warns America Against Potentially Disastrous Obama Trade Deal,” they report:
“‘Congress has the responsibility to ensure that any international trade agreement entered into by the United States must serve the national interest, not merely the interests of those crafting the proposal in secret,’ Sessions’ team writes in a document that lays out the top five concerns with the Obama trade deal. ‘It must improve the quality of life, the earnings, and the per-capita wealth of everyday working Americans. The sustained long-term loss of middle class jobs and incomes should compel all lawmakers to apply added scrutiny to a ‘fast-track’ procedure wherein Congress would yield its legislative powers and allow the White House to implement one of largest global financial agreements in our history – comprising at least 12 nations and nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP.’ . . .
“The Sessions document then goes point-by-point for five full pages through the TPA trade deal, laying out why it wouldn’t help Americans – rather, it would likely hurt American workers – and why the deal doesn’t in fact provide Congress with more power over trade despite talking points from the Obama trade deal’s proponents . . .”
The second article in Breitbart, “Only Two Republicans Admit They Have Actually Read Secret Obama Trade Deal – Both Unsupportive” reports on a survey they did of Senate Republicans where they asked three questions: (1) Have you read the TPP, specifically the ‘living agreement’ in the trade deal that allows the deal to be changed and countries added without congressional review? (2) Does the Senator agree with Sen. Sessions’ call to make the TPP available to the public? And, (3) Will the Senator vote for fast track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) if the TPP hasn’t been stripped of the ‘living agreement’ section that would allow countries to amend the deal without Congressional approval, and to even add countries (like China, if they wanted to) to the deal without Congressional approval?
Breitbart reports that one additional Senator, James Lankford (R-OK) was scheduled to read the TPP on Friday, May 16. Interestingly, the Oklahoma legislature recently passed a resolution urging their federal representatives to vote against fast track trade authority.
While the US Trade Representative has threatened members of Congress with criminal prosecution for telling others what is in the TPP, they have made no threat to Senator Sessions. No doubt if they did so, fast track and the TPP would be dead because the years of work by the Obama administration to move this forward in secret would be over, and as the first trade representative in the Obama administration, Ambassador Ron Kirk, told the media “if the American people knew what was in this agreement it would never become law.” …