USTR Wants 'Trade Promotion Authority' In An Effort To Ram TPP Through Congress With Little Debate

from the so-that's-how-they'll-do-it... dept

While we've noted that the White House and the USTR have insisted that ACTA is not a treaty and does not require Congressional ratification (something that many, many observers believe is wrong), with the followup TPP agreement, there's no question that it's a broad agreement that will require Congressional approval. But, now we know how the USTR is hoping to streamline that process as much as possible, too.

AndyB points us to the news that Ron Kirk, the USTR, has directly asked Congress to provide the administration with "trade promotion authority," which more or less abdicates Congress's ability to substantially question or modify any international agreement. Trade promotion authority basically forces Congress to vote on any trade agreement put forth by the administration within a very short period of time (90 days) and denies them the ability to offer any amendments (i.e., to do their job). The "reasoning" behind this is to give the administration/USTR authority to negotiate with foreign countries, such that there aren't any questions in those countries of whether or not the US will actually agree to the deal, or if they'll try to change a deal once negotiated.

And, of course, the main reason for seeking this trade promotion authority... is to ram through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the end of the year.

But, such a provision is basically Congress giving up its powers. There's a reason why Congress is supposed to ratify treaties: and it's to keep the executive branch from negotiating something horrible and having us be bound to it. It's crazy to think that Congress would just give up this important check and balance on the executive branch.

Filed Under: congress, mandates, tpp, trade promotion authority, ustr


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2012 @ 5:54am

    "There's a reason why Congress is supposed to ratify treaties: and it's to keep the executive branch from negotiating something horrible and having us be bound to it."

    Congress has already negotiated many horrible things. 95+ year copy protection lengths with constant retroactive extensions coupled by a one sided penalty structure in favor of IP extremists does plenty of harm, as I have noted in the comments over and over.

    Our laws make it too legally risky and expensive for many restaurants and other venues to host independent performers or even for bakeries to allow children to make custom pictures on their birthday cakes. and the FCC has passed broadcasting monopolies that make it nearly impossible for independents to get their content distributed and gain the necessary recognition to gain a living. and government established broadcasting and cableco monopolies have served to keep us ignorant.

    It's not like Congress does any better at passing non-horrible laws.

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