USTR Refuses To Show Up For Senate Hearing On Fast Track

from the how's-that-for-working-closely-with-congress dept

One of the biggest concerns that we've heard from Congress about the USTR's desire for fast track authority is the fact that the USTR has been positively dismissive of Congressional attempts at transparency. While the USTR pretends that getting fast track actually means great cooperation with Congress, apparently USTR boss Michael Froman decided to bend over and tell Congress to kiss his ass by not even bothering to show up for the Senate's hearing on fast track authority.

Several committee members said they were puzzled and disappointed that USTR Michael Froman passed on an opportunity to convince some skeptical lawmakers they need to establish Fast Track authority for President Barack Obama’s priority Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

“I wish they were here,” said Portman, a member of the committee and a former US trade representative under President George W. Bush.  “It’s important.”

This shows the kind of disdain that the USTR appears to hold Congress in. Congress remains a mere nuisance in the USTR's ongoing efforts to put forth the best agreement possible for a bunch of crony friends who will soon be offering USTR staffers new jobs as lobbyists.

If the USTR can't even bother to show up to argue for fast track, while arguing how important it is, perhaps it suggests that Congress really ought not to give the USTR that kind of power. So far, the USTR has not been transparent. It has directly lied, repeatedly, to the American public about what it's trying to do, and when given the chance to explain itself to the Senate committee in charge of the very bill it wants to give it more power over the TPP and TTIP/TAFTA, it blows it off.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 1:53pm

    If I was in the Senate...

    I would see if I could fire the entire USTR.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 2:08pm

    The passage of that bill has already been bought and paid for. The USTR knows this and shows great arrogance in not showing up before Congress.

     

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      silverscarcat (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 3:17pm

      Re:

      It was pretty much the same with SOPA and PIPA, wasn't it?

       

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        Internet Zen Master (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 3:35pm

        Re: Re:

        Ain't over till the fat lady sings, or something...

        'sides, even if they DO get FTA, they still have to make TPP look harmless enough for all the Congressmen on the electoral 'chopping block' to vote for during an election year, when they don't want to do anything too drastic because it might cost them their seats.

        As the Zen Master says, "We'll see."

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        I ate that SOPA PIPA and it was delicious

         

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    wallow-T, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 2:14pm

    Nice that they're making the workings of our government more transparent to us, by making it clear that the goal here is to neuter Congress from having any role as the voice of the people. :-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 3:42pm

    US Hates Congress

    have you forgotten that ??

    Most of America fully understand that Congress is presently filled with a bunch of idiots who wont do anything unless it is to 'get back' at the president, and block everything they can for partisan reasons..

    I can understand why no one would want to talk to them, this congress is lucky to be able to pass wind.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 3:47pm

    The USTR works for the same Corps that Congress does this wasn't a hearing it was a PR meeting and unimportant to their masters.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 5:32pm

    it basically stuck it's fingers up, i dont know about 'blows it off'! this is disgusting behaviour from what is supposed to be a professional body and it goes to show not just what it thinks of Congress but also how much power it has over Congress and how much power Congress actually has.
    the real kicker though must be that as USTR chose not to show, it must mean there is a lot more to hide than it is obviously trying to make out. surely Congress has enough clout still to make it toe the line? to do as it's supposed to? if not, what's the point of Congress? we've already seen just how little power it seems to have over the Security Forces and the courts

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Time for turnabout perhaps?

    Well if the USTR isn't interested enough in FTA for their pet treaty to actually show up to the hearing about it, it seems only fair that the senators don't bother showing up when it comes time to vote on the thing, because they have 'more important matters to work on', like crossword puzzles, getting some extra sleep, stuff like that.

     

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    Clownius, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:45pm

    Shows whos really in charge

    Its not been congress or the president for some time. Its just that now the real powers dont even bother pretending what Congress or the President say or do has any bearing on them.

    Sad really. Shows just how far the corporations have gone in controlling the world and the USA in particular. No need to pretend anymore.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:47pm

      Re: Shows whos really in charge

      Well, maybe. This is the USTR showing that they don't consider congress or the senate important enough to actually bother with, which really seems to be pushing their luck, considering how much they really want FTA re-instated.

      What will be the really telling point is if the two houses still approve FTA, and then TPP after it, as that will make it loud and clear that despite any objections, or insults to their 'authority', both congresscritters and senators are still willing to dance to the corporate tune.

      Hopefully(though I'm not terribly banking on it), this little snub will be the proverbial last straw, and make the fence sitters in both houses declare, and then vote as such, that FTA is off the table, and that if TPP hits the houses, it will be gone over publicly, despite what it's pushers want.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:30am

    Actions speak louder than words. The USTR has just spoken loudly with their actions, or lack of actions, to be more accurate.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 3:10pm

    You know what would make me laugh!? /s, is if they still put fast track up for the vote after this

     

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    Rekrul, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 1:16pm

    "Puzzled and disappointed"? I'm puzzled and disappointed that Congress isn't angry over their failure to show up.

     

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