House Speaker Paul Ryan Demands TPP Be Renegotiated; Neglects To Mention It Was His Bill That Makes That Impossible

from the is-that-your-own-petard-you're-hoisted-on? dept

House Speaker Paul Ryan is apparently none too pleased about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. We're not very pleased with it either and think large sections of it should be dumped -- but for very different reasons than Ryan I imagine. Ryan is saying that there aren't enough votes in the House to ratify the TPP, while suggesting that the USTR has to go back and renegotiate the deal in an interview he gave on Fox News:
When asked where TPP stands now, Ryan said, “Right now I don’t see the votes there for TPP, because I think the administration negotiated an agreement that has some problems in it, has some flaws in it, and they’re going to have to figure those out and work those out if they want to get the votes to pass it through Congress, which I just don’t see the votes there right now.”

Ryan said TPP is not dead, “but right now they have a lot of work to do. If we brought it to the floor today, it wouldn’t pass.”
And then when the host, Maria Baritoromo challenges him on this, pointing out that if they don't have the votes now, how will they have the votes later, he raises a bunch of issues (including intellectual property -- which probably means he wants those provisions to be even worse and more ridiculous than they are now) and basically says the USTR needs to go back to the negotiating table:
I won’t go into all the details, but cross-border data flows, dairy, there are biologics, intellectual property rights protections. I can go into all the details if you’d like, but the point I’m trying to make is I don’t see the votes for this agreement now. That’s why I think they need to go back and work on this agreement.
Go back and work on this agreement? Oh really? Now, this is the same Paul Ryan who (as he mentions in the interview) was the driving force behind the so-called fast track or "Trade Promotion Authority." Though Ryan totally misrepresents what that means. He claims that the TPA gave the USTR "the ability to go negotiate trade agreements." That's hilariously not true. After all, the USTR has been negotiating the TPP for more than half a decade at this point, and only got Trade Promotion Authority in June. All Trade Promotion Authority REALLY does is ties Congress's hands so that it can no longer ask the USTR to go back and renegotiate sections, because the whole point of the TPA is that it limits Congressional authority to a simple yes or no vote -- rather than allowing it to actually debate and challenge specific aspects of the agreement.

And, of course, back when that push was on, Ryan was all over the place, insisting that Congress needed to pass Trade Promotion Authority to make sure that the USTR would follow Congress's instructions on the deal and to make sure everyone knew that the US government "spoke with one voice." Here's what Paul Ryan was saying a few months ago:
TPA shows our trading partners that the U.S. government speaks with one voice, putting our country in the strongest negotiating position possible, and it lets these countries know that we are open for business. Additionally, TPA gives us the opportunity to write the rules of any deal before entering into a trade agreement, and it mandates that no provision of any trade agreement can conflict with existing American laws, make changes to our immigration policy, impose new environmental regulations on our economy, infringe on our 2nd Amendment rights, or undermine the sovereignty of the American people in any way. Completing any major trade agreement without TPA undermines the constitutional role of Congress over trade, and TPA would ensure that Congress is an equal partner in the negotiations.
Of course, almost none of that is accurate. All TPA did was take away Congress's "constitutional role" in trade, by giving it over to the executive branch. I still find it hilarious that Congressional Republicans, who claim to so hate executive power wielded by President Obama, were so eager to give up their own powers to enter into trade agreements, and to hand that power entirely over to the executive branch, with a mere up or down vote.

So now it seems particularly ridiculous for Speaker Ryan, of all people, to be claiming that we need to go back and renegotiate the deal. We can't do that -- and the reason we can't do that is because of Ryan's own Trade Promotion Authority effort, which he insisted was necessary so that the final deal would reflect the wishes of Congress.

In another push for Trade Promotion Authority, Paul Ryan said the following:
With so much at stake, if the House rejects TPA, it will announce to the world that America is unreliable. But if the House approves TPA, it will underscore America’s commitment to a successful negotiation and reassert America’s leading role in world affairs. After years of indecision, no puffed-up posture can enhance America’s stature. Only concrete actions can rebuild U.S. credibility. And number one on the to-do list is establishing TPA.
The whole basis of TPA was that once the USTR concluded a deal, Congress couldn't nitpick it. That was Ryan's entire argument. And now that the deal is done... he wants to nitpick it?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 23 Feb 2016 @ 6:51am

    Oh if only...

    Would have been great had the one giving the interview pointed out that 're-negotiation' wasn't going to happens because of his bill, which turned the entire TPP into a 'take it or leave it' proposition. Pointing out that his own actions made his complaints impossible would have lead to some nice scrambling I'm sure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2016 @ 7:13am

    Empty words

    With the TPA in place it's safe enough to complain about 're-negotiation' all he wants, he knows full well that it's not happening. As such he can complain about parts to make it look like he's 'listening to the concerns of the people', and then shrug with a 'well what can I do, my hands are tied' when it comes time to vote and absolutely no re-negotiation can occur.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 9:28am

      Re: Empty words

      As a conservative this is one of the things that the spineless repukes are very good at.

      Intentionally cutting off their own hand then whining about it to stoke faux outrage out of their sheeple.

      Sure the dems do it as well, but the repukes tend to be worse, maybe because I tend to expect better from a party that still at least pretends they give a shit about hypocrisy... who am I kidding... the party system was created explicitly to rob the people off their voices so that that none elected officials can easily keep direct influence over politics without having to take any of the blame directly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 25 Feb 2016 @ 2:31am

        Re: Re: Empty words

        Sticking buzz words such as "free trade" and "free market" get them all geed up and saying those words renders all arguments invalid.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 24 Feb 2016 @ 8:41am

    Here is your mistake:

    That was Ryan's entire argument. And now that the deal is done... he wants to nitpick it?

    You are presuming that he actually understood what he was bribed to do.

    He's not paid for looking at the things he regurgitates. Well, actually, he is being paid for that by the people, but it's a pittance compared to his bribes so he does not bother with putting a lot of effort in. And anyway, if he were known to stick with his first plans, it would dry up the stream of further bribes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 24 Feb 2016 @ 8:41am

    Pedantic note

    is-that-your-own-petard-you're-hoisted-on?

    The phrase "hoist by his own petard" (note: "by", not "on") comes from Hamlet. A petard wasn't some sort of pole or hook that you hang things on; it was an explosive device used by French sappers to blow walls open. In modern English the phrase means "blown into the air by his own bomb."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 8:42am

    FTFY M. Ryan

    "... if the House rejects TPA, it will announce to the world that America is unreliable."

    ... if the House rejects TPA, it will announce to the world that CONGRESS is unreliable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 8:52am

    Because he's a lying lobby nut licking politician.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 9:04am

    Absolutely NOBODY should let him live this down for as long as he lives. Every time he even brings up the TPP, someone near him, if not everyone in unison, should say "TPA" to remind him of his fuckup.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 24 Feb 2016 @ 9:19am

    Did I miss something somewhere? I thought TPP was considered a treaty, and as such would get ratified (or not) by the Senate, with the House having nothing to do with it.

    I could be wrong, of course. And I suppose there are plenty of ways that an "agreement" could be construed as something else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Feb 2016 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      Did I miss something somewhere? I thought TPP was considered a treaty, and as such would get ratified (or not) by the Senate, with the House having nothing to do with it.

      I could be wrong, of course. And I suppose there are plenty of ways that an "agreement" could be construed as something else.


      Yup, you're wrong. :) It's not a "treaty" which does require 2/3 of the Senate to ratify, and nothing from the House. Instead it's a "trade agreement" which requires more than half of both houses of Congress to approve it. And then there are "executive agreements" which just need approval of the White House.

      What's the difference? Well, in reality, it often just depends on what the USTR thinks will be most effective. :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jason, 24 Feb 2016 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re:

        Ah, got it.

        For some reason I had "treaty" in my head. Maybe I was thinking of something else and mixed them up. (It sure does seem very treaty-like, though.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2016 @ 9:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It is approximately a treaty. The good thing about its status, though, is that Constitutionally speaking, it's much easier to walk away from than a real treaty.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 10:11am

    and as in true politicians bullshit way, when it hits the fane, the one who started it or prevented it from being stopped, comes out with more BS to try to cover his/her own ass!! good ol' America!
    considering, i believe, all of these 'held in secret, do whatever can be thought of to screw the people while giving the wealthy and powerful even more wealth and power, start in the USA and are 'fought over (negotiated means squat in these cases) by the USTR with nothing in mind except giving US companies and businesses a strangle hold on other countries businesses, in particular, giving Hollywood and the entertainment industries more ways to sue whoever has the balls to go against them, also giving stronger punishments than just about every conceivable , legitimate crime, it's a bit late to call 'foul' now!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 12:27pm

    This is what happens when you elect people to positions of power in society with what amounts to a popularity contest between liars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 12:46pm

    Paul Ryan = Just another brain dead politician or liar. Does it matter which?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 24 Feb 2016 @ 2:43pm

      Re:

      Of course it does. The latter gets more bribes and fewer lobbyist visits. Whether this is cheaper or not depends on the price tags of the lobbyists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 24 Feb 2016 @ 2:19pm

    always been a flip flop

    he always has been and always will be I am dubbing it the PRyan effect

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tracyanne, 24 Feb 2016 @ 2:30pm

    So

    Given there appear not to be enough votes to pass the TPP, surely it's in the best interest of the US, and the rest of the world... the Pacific at least, for that matter, to work to get Congress to vote no on ratifying the TPP.

    Please someone confirm for me that that is happening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2016 @ 5:26pm

    True words

    "TPA shows our trading partners that the U.S. government speaks with one voice, putting our country in the strongest negotiating position possible, and it lets these countries know that we are open for business."


    This is perfectly true. The US government spoke with one voice. The US people spoke with a different voice. ("Spoke" being figurative, as they weren't actually allowed to have their say.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2016 @ 5:12am

    Back when I was in college (and still had more free time than money), I'd sometimes turn on the radio to political shows and count how many times a speaker would contradict themselves during the 45 min. the show lasted.

    Suffice to say I was always entertained.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kimi, 28 Jun 2016 @ 7:54pm

    tpp bad medicine!

    I have been being poison since2013 when this tpp deal took affect.the Paul Ryan's are going to get rich w out a care of what pills do to u.that's how big corps have been wanting a long time to do.to take our voice.no tpp

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.