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
    JT, 8 Mar 2012 @ 10:27am

    Not a Treaty Eh?

    "While we've noted that the White House and the USTR have insisted that ACTA is not a treaty..."

    ACTA = Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

    trea·ty
       [tree-tee] Show IPA
    noun, plural -ties.
    1. a formal agreement between two or more states in reference to peace, alliance, commerce, or other international relations.

    2. the formal document embodying such an international agreement.

    3. any agreement or compact.

    Oh, and just for fun, Definition of Agreement too.

    agreement (əˈɡriːmənt) — n

    1. the act of agreeing

    2. a settlement, esp one that is legally enforceable; covenant; treaty

    3. a contract or document containing such a settlement

    4. the state of being of the same opinion; concord; harmony

    5. the state of being similar or consistent; correspondence; conformity

    6. grammar Also called: concord the determination of the inflectional form of one word by some grammatical feature, such as number or gender, of another word, esp one in the same sentence

    7.collective agreement See national agreement

    I think that just about fucks their argument up

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