Congress Doesn’t Care What You Think, Fast Tracks Super Secret Trade Agreement

Congress Doesn’t Care What You Think, Fast Tracks Super Secret Trade Agreement

President Obama knows best. That’s the message congress signified to the American public on Thursday as it gave the President wide ranging authority to negotiate on behalf of the American people without any democratic oversight of just what deals he is cutting. The move came despite the strong opposition of most Democrats.

The 62-38 vote will allow Obama to negotiate trade deals that Congress can only accept or reject, but not change. The move make the role of President more like ruler-in-chief, as the amount of issues in a free trade deal make it unlikely one party or another will unilaterally veto a deal.

The move was welcomed by big corporations and their lobbyists, who effectively write such deals. The President’s office will usually take lobbyist proposals and write them directly into the deals without changing them whatsoever. The move cuts down on work by elected officials and panders to industry.

The average American, meanwhile, gets nothing. Or worse. The measures in such deals usually lead to loss of American jobs and industry in order to ensure corporate profits steadily climb. The deals also include broad provisions for spying, a favorite past-time of America’s secret police forces.

The trade agenda, known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, is Obama’s highest second-term priority. He is seeking to return favors to rich donors and build a legacy for himself once he leaves office.

The deal is so controversial that the American public and its elected officials have been barred from viewing any of its contents. Some drafts have leaked but the specifics of a final agreement are more classified than most military programs.

Critics are attacking the fast-track bill from many sides. Some demand crackdowns on countries that make their exports more affordable by keeping the currency artificially low, such as China.

Others insist that Congress first deal with pending expirations of a domestic surveillance program and the Export-Import Bank.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spent hours on the Senate floor Wednesday criticizing the surveillance program yet to no avail. Mr Paul has supported such spying in the past and is using the obvious failure of his filibuster to bolster his chances of becoming President, where he would then once again authorize pervasive spying. This is has become commonplace in American politics – say one thing knowing its impossible, then do the opposite when elected. Par for the course in Washington.

Leading the Senate’s fast-track effort was antique Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, among the oldest and most out of touch members of Congress. He is also one of the largest benefactors of big corporate support. So for him, like most of Congress, a trade deal just makes sense – keeps the big donors happy, regardless of what Americans actually want.

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