A week ago, the House of Representatives passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill, by a margin of 218-208. It was another defeat for the House Freedom Caucus, which, while not officially coming out against, had most or all of it’s members vote against it. The bill moved onto the Senate, where it is likely to be voted on today.
The Senate has already gone ahead and moved the TPA bill forward towards a final vote, with a procedural vote taking place yesterday coming in at 60-37-3. It barely made it through. Here are the results:
It’s interesting to note that Senator Ted Cruz is now against TPA, while him and his followers have been defenders of TPA from the beginning of this debate in the past few weeks. Maybe Sessions finally got to his head? I don’t know. Cruz seems to be against the TPA, citing on his Facebook page the following:
“TPA in this Congress has become enmeshed in corrupt Washington backroom deal-making, along with serious concerns that it would open up the potential for sweeping changes in our laws that trade agreements typically do not include.
There’s too much corporate welfare, too much cronyism and corrupt dealmaking, by the Washington cartel. For too long, career politicians in both parties have supported government of the lobbyist, by the lobbyist, and for the lobbyist – at the expense of the taxpayers. It’s a time for truth. And a time to honor our commitments to the voters.”
His comments were also picked up in The Hill. These specifically point to him also wanting the Export-Import Bank re-authorization stopped. He is quoted:
“Enough is enough. I cannot vote for TPA unless McConnell and Boehner both commit publicly to allow the Ex-Im Bank to expire — and stay expired. And, Congress must also pass the Cruz-Sessions amendments to TPA to ensure that no trade agreement can try to back-door changes to our immigration laws,” Cruz said in an opinion piece for Breitbart News. “Otherwise, I will have no choice but to vote no.”
It’s nice to see you finally make it here Ted, and I’m glad you’re here, but it sure took you a long time. That, and it’s a bit hard to fully trust you again with how much you’ve been missing your job lately, and your supporters using liars like Orrin Hatch (RINO-UT) to go after who I’d call a good Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Your support base has a lot of nice people, but these Establishment-leaning streaks need to stop.
And as I look at the comment section, I’m still reminded that you were a proponent of TPA in the beginning, because you thought it was a good bill. How cute.
Enough of Ted Cruz. Rand was against it before Ted was, and that’s that. The Trade Promotion Authority bill is still a usurpation of a power Congress holds, no matter how much it may make passing a trade deal “easier”. The Founders probably had a good reason to leave negotiating a trade deal with the Congress, and not the Executive. I really with some Conservatives would ponder why they did.
The vote is expected to happen around 5:30pm tonight. You can view it live here from C-SPAN.
If you’d like a perspective from the left side of things, see this post over at The Huffington Post by Rep. Alan Grayson and a Constitutional Lawyer named Bruce Fein.