Letters Show Mounting TPP Opposition in Congress

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Two letters released today and yesterday indicate that the Obama administration has a daunting challenge in convincing Congress to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Bloomberg BNA| March 23, 2016 |Bloomberg BNA]

Today, 19 members of the New York congressional delegation, led by Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), sent a letter to President Barack Obama opposing the TPP. The agreement will cost jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs, in New York and the country as a whole, especially since it has no effective measures to address currency manipulation by U.S. trading partners, the lawmakers said.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and 18 Democratic Senate colleagues sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman yesterday expressing their concerns about unfulfilled labor reforms among TPP members. They requested that the administration hold off on submitting legislation to implement the trade deal until Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei enact the necessary reforms.

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  • commented 2016-03-25 09:40:44 -0400
    Sent March 23, 2016

    Dear Senator Blumenthal,

    I read with interest the letter you and 18 other Senators signed yesterday, asking USTR Michael Froman to delay any submission of the TPP implementing legislation to Congress until after Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei meet their labor reform commitments described in that treaty.

    IF you signed the letter purely as a tactic to stall the TPP, that is fine, BUT IF you signed it as a signal that you will vote “yes” on the so-called “fast tracked” implementation legislation, when the USTR inevitably certifies those countries have met such commitments, then holding such a vote would be an outrageous and literally treasonous defiance of the Constitutional requirement that treaties be approved by “2/3 of the Senators present.” The so-called “Executive-Legislative Agreement” legal fiction of ratifying these treaties through the back door of a simple majority voting on “implementation legislation” is an affront to any of us who still believe the Constitution means what it says. Precedents and custom notwithstanding, there has never been an Amendment diminishing that 2/3 requirement, and the harmful trade treaties proves the wisdom of the Founders in making treaties so hard to ratify.

    Further, the TPP is the worst yet of all these trade treaties in the certain damage it would do to our economy and our sovereignty, both national and popular. I have read enough of the TPP to be convinced this is unquestionably true.

    We were right in 1994 to oppose the WTO and NAFTA treaties, but at the time there was a plausible benefit of the doubt due to lack of history of results. The verdict of history 22 years later is now in, and these treaties result in massive offshoring of our productive economy, with all the resulting loss of prosperity and fiscal crises at all levels of government as not just jobs but the tax base itself is off-shored.

    These losses are not just quantitative or temporary: lost industries mean dismantling of our industrial ecosystem of supply chains, human skills, technological leadership and all the multiplier-effects of manufacturing. The longer we let our de-industrialization continue, the harder it will be to rebuild these lost industries and the long-term prosperity that can only be built on a robust private sector manufacturing economy.

    As if that weren’t bad enough, these treaties also dismantle our national sovereignty, moving wide and important realms of governance out of the Congress and into treaty law adjudicated by international tribunals far beyond any democratic pressures from the US citizens. That is another treasonous insult to our constitutional republic, with very real harms such as the recent neutering of our County Of Origin Labeling law after it was ruled to be a “barrier to trade” by the WTO Appellate Body.

    Under absolutely NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you vote “yes” on any TPP “implementing legislation,” no matter what any administration official or corporate lobby or media or think tank or academic says. The champions of these unconstitutional treaties are literally traitors to our country, in service of globalized banks and corporations that have zero loyalty to the USA and whose agents should be made to register as the foreign agents they are and barred from any attempt to influence the electoral or policy-making process of our republic.

    For Our Country, —Will Wilkin
    Deputy Director
    Balanced Trade Associates
    willwilkin@balancedtrade.us
    www.balancedtrade.us