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Sessions slams talk of trade deal until after elections
Howard Richman, 12/16/2015

On December 10, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned President Obama that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could be voted down if brought up before the elections. According to  The Hill:

President Obama is risking defeat of his signature trade deal if he tries to push for passage before a lame-duck session next year.

“It certainly shouldn’t come before the election," McConnell told The Washington Post in an interview

"I think the president would be making a big mistake to try to have that voted on during the election. There’s significant pushback all over the place," he said.

On December 11,  The Hill reported Senator Sessions response to McConnell:

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Friday slammed suggestions that Congress wouldn't take up President Obama's signature trade deal before the 2016 elections, calling a lame-duck vote an attempt to sidestep voters. 

"It seems clear the goal of [Trans-Pacific Partnership] supporters is to hold the vote when the public will be least able to hold their representatives accountable, because the pact’s boosters know that it is deeply unpopular," Sessions said in a statement, adding that its not Congress's job to "help the president to bypass voters."

On December 12, I contributed my analysis in the American Thinker blog:

Senator McConnell and the rest of the Republican establishment in Washington have a huge problem. They have to sneak in their anti-American votes after elections, or they would get turned out of office. The donor class that they serve can't marshal votes, since most of their employees are foreigners who work in factories abroad.

Obama may or may not go along with McConnell's request to put off the TPP vote until after the election. An early vote on TPP would give him enough time to add the Paris climate agreement to TPP before he leaves office and would help him suppress Republican voter turnout.

The Obama administration has claimed that the Paris climate agreement does not require ratification by Congress since there are no enforcement mechanisms within that agreement. This is nonsense. The Paris  agreement requires that countries involved make commitments and strengthen those commitments periodically. They are never permitted to loosen those commitments. Whatever Obama promises will be binding on all future U.S. Presidents; any reduction to Obama's draconian CO2 cuts would violate the Paris agreement. 

If the Paris agreement were meant to be non-binding, it would have been called a "Declaration." It called itself an "Agreement," which means that it is one of the multilateral environmental agreements that is supposed to be added to TPP by the TPP Commission, according to the TPP agreement itself.

Don't think that Republicans in the Senate would vote against TPP just because the Paris climate agreement could be added. Listen to what Mark Steyn had to say in his blog, The GOP Don't Never Dance with Them That Brung Them, about the recent climate hearings in the Senate in which only one Republican senator showed up, permitting the hearing to be dominated by the Democratic Senators who asked soft-ball questions of the climate alarmists. Here is Steyn's analysis:

Why did no Republicans show up? Rubio was off campaigning in California and ignoring all those senatorial duties his constituent Jeb! wants him to focus on. But Thune and the rest of those guys were all in the building, voting on various Senate flim-flam going on that day. So even though they were 90 seconds away they chose not to attend....

The slightly subtler reason is that these Republicans felt that the whole climate biz was a bit of a hot potato for them....

As I've often said, the Republican Party is so good at folding they should be the White House valets. Doesn't matter what your issue is, they'll fold. They fold on debt, on immigration, on regulation, on gay marriage, on Obamacare, on [Insert Your Issue Here]. Regardless of the merits of this or that issue, on the whole they'd rather pre-emptively surrender. And I got the definite sense from their no-show last week that for these guys global warming will be just the 173rd issue for which discretion is the better part of valor. Save your powder - for next year, next decade, whenever. If you're a Kansan, Floridian, Coloradan, South Dakotan or Alaskan and you voted because you want sanity in environmental policy, well, tough: the GOP don't dance with them what brung them, no way, no how.

We don't yet know when President Obama will schedule the vote on TPP. If he wants to put the Paris agreement into the TPP before he leaves office, he will have to schedule that vote before the November election.

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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

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  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

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  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]