More Republicans are coming out in opposition to Obamatrade—the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) which would fast-track the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—pushing back against House leadership’s effort to ram it through the House.
[Reposted from Breitbart | Matthew Boyle | June 9, 2015]
“Trade deals should be about creating jobs,” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), an influential Alabamian who serves in a senior position on the House Appropriations Committee, told Breitbart News. “At this point I am skeptical that any trade deal President Obama – or any president – might bring would actually create jobs in Alabama. This will be an agreement that would be in place for years to come.”
While Aderholt’s quote isn’t an express “no,” against Obamatrade, it’s certainly hard to see him voting for it now. That increases the “no” votes and “leaning no” votes on this to nearly 40 members, and the undecided members on Capitol Hill aren’t budging under pressure from Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) or anyone else pushing Obamatrade. It’s so bad that Boehner and his allies have, some sources have suggested, started targeting undecided House members’ staffers in what one aide told Breitbart News was a “sickening” effort to push Obamatrade through.
Meanwhile, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)—who’s already publicly opposed to Obamatrade—told Breitbart News on Tuesday that the Republican leadership has adopted Democrat talking points on this. In an email, Gohmert said:
Many trusted Republicans parrot the talking points Democrat leaders fashioned that passing TPA will force the administration to finally provide us information before trade agreements are finalized which will then force the President to include Congress in something so important.
That is such a great idea, except – wait, wasn’t it the law that the President had to give us 30 days’ notice before he released anyone from Guantanamo? Isn’t it the current law that the President and his administration must comply with lawful subpoenas from Congress like requesting Fast and Furious documents that have still not been provided?
Gohmert continued by hammering the administration for its various scandals, and questioning why any Republican would trust Obama.
And isn’t it the law that administration officials must come testify before Congress when subpoenaed, not tell them they have no business in asking? – much like the White House principal health policy advisor and top IRS official did to the House Oversight Committee and the U.S. Treasury Department continues to do to the Senate. The list of blatant disregard for the law could continue on; however, I’m afraid it would take up too much room to name all the offenses.
The fact is that this lawless administration is the least transparent ever. Adding one more requirement will mean one more law this administration can ignore. But I really do have to admire the optimism of members of the Congress, who say, ‘But this time, he really, really and truly will comply with giving us notice; this one law will change everything about the lack of transparency.’ I admire the optimism, but cannot close my eyes long enough to be quite that blind.
Aderholt’s decision to come out against Obamatrade is likely to break a logjam and encourage others to come out against it. Others, such as Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), from the Alabama delegation have remained silent for now.
“She hasn’t staked out a position,” Roby spokesman Todd Stacy told Breitbart News last Thursday. “She and staff continue to study the issue and seek input from stakeholders. In general I can tell you that she supports free trade, but it has to be fair trade too. She strongly believes Congress must retain its authority to approve or reject any trade deal.”
Also pressuring Aderholt and other southern representatives is the fact that both of Alabama’s U.S. Senators, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), voted against it in the Senate.
Right now, spokespeople for Reps. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) and more have confirmed either on record or anonymously their bosses are undecided. Other members’ offices, like that of Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS)—who’s likely to face a primary challenge from either state Sen. Chris McDaniel, state Sen. Michael Watson or both—has consistently refused to answer where he stands, but this will make it tougher for him to keep hiding.
Since none of them are budging under leadership pressure, though, one House GOP aide told Breitbart News that Boehner’s allies have been resorting to lobbying members’ staffs to try to get them to support Obamatrade.
“Someone has been going to staffs because ‘undecided members’ aren’t budging,” the aide said in an email. “I’m kinda sickened by it actually!”
It’s quite incredible that Boehner’s team is unable to get their message through to members themselves—and means that essentially the establishment is not even getting their phone calls returned from House Republicans.
“Unfortunately the troops have mobilized to have staff lobby their bosses for TPA even though the member isn’t willing,” the House GOP aide said.
What’s more, in seeming response to losing two more Republicans who now publicly oppose Obamatrade earlier on Tuesday—Reps. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA)—Boehner’s office compiled a list of in some cases weeks old quotes from various other Republicans who support Obamatrade to put out a post on Boehner’s website arguing that support for Obamatrade “grows.”
It pulls together a weeks-old quote from Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) from back in May, a months-old op-ed from House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) from back in April, a several-days-old quote from Condoleezza Rice, and old quotes from Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). It also cites early May quotes from Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and from Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)—neither of whom have been loudly pushing Obamatrade. Since it came out, McClintock supported it without going to the secret room inside the Capitol to read the TPP text. The Boehner post notes that Charles Krauthammer, the National Review editors, Cato Institute officials, and some others support Obamatrade too.
All of those people have supported Obamatrade for quite some time—none of their support is new, or surprising, actually—and Speaker Boehner’s press secretary Matt Wolking hasn’t responded to a Breitbart News press request when asked for at least one fresh conservative voice in support of this measure.