Inside US Trade: Hatch Signals He Will Submit Final TPA Offer To Wyden On Tuesday

March 26, 2015


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on Tuesday (March 24) indicated that he planned to submit to Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) by the end of the day his final offer for changes to a draft Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, without giving any details on the offer itself.

[Reposted from Inside US Trade  |  March 24, 2015]

“We're coming up with the last offer and hopefully [Wyden will] come on board,” Hatch told reporters. Asked when he planned to submit the offer to Wyden, Hatch replied: “Well, he'll know about it before the end of the day.”

Click here to read the remainder of the article on the Inside US Trade site.

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  • Sent to the Senator:

    Dear Senator Wyden,

    Please continue to stand against pressure, please continue to oppose Fast Track.

    No treaty can or will rebuild American manufacturing or prosperity. Rather, Free Trade treaties are the problem, and more of them will only deepen our loss of manufacturing, jobs, sovereignty and democracy.

    Free Trade treaties, such as NAFTA and the WTO treaty, as well as 11 other FTAs, including most recently those with Korea, Colombia and Panama, were mostly passed under Fast Track rules. These treaties have resulted in large losses of American jobs and factories as industries have been moved offshore. Free Trade treaties have increased our imports more than our exports, as shown by the past decade in which our foreign trade in goods has averaged a deficit over $720 billion per year.

    These Free Trade treaties have also weakened product safety and environmental standards. Proponents of the TPP tout “labor and environmental standards” being internationalized, but in practice Free Trade treaties have been used by foreign countries to declare US standards to be “barriers to trade.” Recent examples include the WTO rulings against American Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) on meat and produce sold in US markets. Our national sovereignty and democracy are dismantled when treaties are used to overthrow laws of Congress.

    Fast Track rules are a historically recent and unprecedented weakening of the Constitutional separation of powers between the Congress and the President. Somehow without any Constitutional Amendment there is no longer an Article 2 Section 2 requirement that approval of treaties requires 2/3 of the Senate. In practical terms, Fast Track limits the ability of the Congress to influence the terms of trade treaties that have very big impacts on the American economy and system of government. Through Fast Track, Congress delegates to the President its Constitutional obligations to regulate our commerce. Fast Track does this by eliminating the normal legislative process, in which various Congressional Committees have time to study and amend a proposed law (in this case, laws implementing trade treaties).

    Fast Track also ties Congress’ hands by prohibiting the normal prerogative of any Representative or Senator from proposing amendments to the law after it has passed through the Committee process. Instead, Fast Track imposes a strict and exceedingly brief “debate” time and limits Congressional input to a straight yes or no vote on complex treaties hundreds of pages long.

    The problem is made worse because these “trade” treaties have become increasingly broad, affecting many traditionally non-trade issues formerly regulated by Congress. These non-trade issues include: domestic patent and copyright policy; immigration and visa policy; service-sector policies from energy and transportation to finance and healthcare; food and product safety standards; limits on local development and land-use policy; establishment of new rights and greater protections for foreign investors operating within the United States that extend beyond U.S. law; and even eliminating “Buy American” rules governing purchases by the federal government. By moving all these issues out of the elected Congress and into a body of treaty-based international law, American democracy and sovereignty are weakened as much as our economy is weakened.

    It is time to stop letting the lobbyists of globalized corporations write our trade policy. These transnational corporations explicitly acknowledge they have zero national loyalties. Yet their huge campaign donations -and lucrative revolving door jobs given to former Legislative and Executive branch government officials and their high-level staff- are the influence-pedaling that has turned our republic into the coin-operated government so contrary to the interests of the citizens of the USA.

    It is time for genuine patriotism and duty to the national interest to say NO to “Fast Track” and NO to the TPP and TTIP and the other Free Trade treaties in negotiation. We need our leaders to instead stand up for America’s jobs, our industries, our environmental and consumer protection standards, and our democracy and our sovereignty.

    Genuinely patriotic leadership would replace the Free Trade policy with a Balanced Trade policy that limits our imports to the same value as our exports. Diverting the annual $720+ billion goods trade deficit into that much more demand for US-made goods would directly create over 6 million new US manufacturing jobs and indirectly create more than 2 million additional new jobs in other sectors through the multiplier-effect manufacturing has. A Balanced Trade policy would effectively require the globalized corporations to invest, employ and produce in the USA if they want to sell their wares in the USA.

    Will Wilkin
    Deputy Director
    Balanced Trade Associates