NEW YORK – With the assistance of Republican leadership in Congress, the Obama administration took a major step toward systematically putting into place a two-ocean globalist plan that will dwarf all prior trade agreements, including NAFTA.
In so doing, the White House has created a new challenge to Hillary Clinton’s struggling presidential campaign.
In a deal reached Thursday afternoon, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, got the reluctant support of ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to join House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in introducing to both houses of Congress “fast-track” legislation, formally known as Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA.
It would give President Obama what is known as “fast-track authority” to push through Congress the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation, free-trade agreement involving the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile and Peru.
Under fast-track authority, there is no provision for Congress to modify the agreement by submitting amendments. Fast-track authority also treats the FTA as if it were trade legislation being negotiated by the executive branch, not as a treaty that would require a two-thirds vote from the Senate.
Democrats in Congress did not have to wait long for prominent union leaders to express their strong opposition to the TPP deal.
“Leaders in the House and Senate, buoyed by their friends in big business, are moving forward with pushing fast-track trade promotion legislation that would allow secret trade pacts to sail through Congress with no chance to alter them,” Teamster President James Hoffa noted in a statement released Thursday on the heels of the joint announcement by the Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.
“That’s bad for American workers as well as their families,” Hoffa continued. “Here in the U.S., thousands of jobs would be shipped overseas to places like Vietnam that pay workers less than $3 a day. It would be a continuation of the gutting of the middle class that began under NAFTA.”
A carefully worded statement from the White House suggested the tip-toeing President Obama will have to do to corral enough Democratic votes in Congress to obtain the fast-track authority the administration will need to move the TPP through Congress.
“My top priority in any trade negotiation is expanding opportunity for hardworking Americans,” Obama said. “It’s no secret that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to their promise, and that’s why I will only sign my name to an agreement that helps ordinary Americans get ahead.”
Clinton is faced with the question of whether she should support Obama on the TPP, affirming her stance as secretary of state while the deal was being negotiated, or side with Democrats in Congress and her union financial backers concerned over the loss of jobs.
WND reported last year an impressive group of 564 labor, environmental, family farm and community organizations typically regarded as core elements of the Democratic Party’s voting base sent Obama a strongly worded letter arguing pushing TPP undermines the president’s message on income inequality.
A report released Jan. 24, 2013, by the Congressional Research Service titled “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress” illustrated the reach of the TPP agreement.
For the past two years, WND has reported the Obama administration plan to obtain fast-track authority to push the TPP through Congress as the prelude to passing the counterpart Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement the Obama administration is currently negotiating with the European Union.
The two-ocean globalist plan was openly discussed by Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address. At the time, Obama declared his intent to complete negotiations for a TPP and announced the launch of talks “on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union.”
Some critics see the TPP as part of globalist “two-ocean” plan designed to supersede the failed SPP initiative.
As WND reported, without much fanfare, the White House has 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.
WND reported the leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico simply announced March 23, 2005, the formation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, the SPP. In 2009, as WND reported, the Obama administration renamed the SPP the North American Leaders Summit, a less controversial banner under which to advance the George W. Bush administration’s agenda of North American integration, according to confidential sources in the U.S. Department of Commerce and the State Department who spoke to WND under condition of anonymity.
The last trilateral head-of-state meeting of the North American Leaders Summit was held in April 2012.
Two months later, in a notice published on the U.S. Trade Representative website at USTR.gov, Ambassador Ron Kirk announced that Mexico had decided to join the TPP negotiations.