UNITED NATIONS – Giving President Obama fast-track authority to conclude an international trade agreement is like playing Russian roulette with six bullets in the chamber, says one of America's leading gun rights organizations.
Gun Owners of America is blasting a congressional proposal that empowers Obama to unilaterally negotiate international agreements as "a 'bait and switch' scheme that could seriously impact the Second Amendment."
House and Senate committees are currently preparing to hand Obama so-called "fast-track" trade promotion authority. It would enable the president to unilaterally negotiate the TransPacific Partnership, a trade and global governance agreement with the U.S. and 11 other nations bordering the Pacific Ocean.
Under fast-track rules, Congress would not be able to amend or even vet the completed agreement. It could only approve everything that Obama has included, including anything tucked away in the 99th page that no one really wants to talk about, or kill it.
Gun Owners of America warns fast track "delegates to Barack Obama the legislative authority to do anything he wants – absolutely anything – so long as he includes it in a 'trade agreement.'"
Second Amendment defenders worry, for example, anti-gun measures such as gun or ammunition import bans could be relegated to the bowels of the so-called "trade agreement." They say Congress would be unable to stop it "when every Establishment interest in Washington starts pushing Congress to immediately approve this 'up-or-down' deal."
They point to the experience with the recently approved trillion-dollar "Cromnibus" spending bill, which included the largest funding increase in history for the federal gun database, empowered states to impose gun bans based on doctor’s orders and increased the budget for the ATF.
Fast track "is the same dynamic as the Cromnibus, and if we hadn't just gone through that we wouldn't see what will happen if they give him fast track," Michael Hammond, legislative counsel with Gun Owners of America, told WND.
"Republicans whine about Obama usurping legislative authority, so why in heaven's name are they thinking of giving him unlimited legislative authority to do anything he can put into a trade agreement?" Hammond asked
Supporters of fast track, including Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, say it allows Congress to set goals for an agreement the Obama administration will negotiate.
But Hammond points out the TransPacific Partnership agreement "has already largely been negotiated and is being kept secret only for the sole purpose of getting us to give it a rubber stamp."
"What kind of idiot would bite on that deal?"
The Obama administration has been negotiating the TransPacific Partnership without congressional input for the past six years and acknowledges the deal is near completion.
"I don't think it's wise to allow Obama to promulgate any law he wants as long as he succeeds in sticking it in this agreement and then gets Congress' assent on an up or down vote without any possibility for amendment," Hammond said.
"It's playing Russian Roulette with a gun with six bullets in the chamber," he said.
Gun Owners of America is urging everyone to contact their senators and representative and ask them to oppose giving fast-track authority to Barack Obama.
WND has reported extensively on the TPP, including when Obama traveled to Asia to promote it last year.
TPP has been described as the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing 12 participating nations representing more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. It's the frontrunner to the equally under-the-radar Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TIPP, between the U.S. and the European Union.
WND reported that the White House, without much fanfare, wrapped Mexico and Canada into the TPP negotiations as a continuation of an effort regarded by critics as a move toward a European Union-style integration of North America.