On Friday Congressman Thomas Massie took to Facebook to explain why he can’t vote for TPA.
Here’s what he said:
I support free trade, but I cannot vote for the #TPA bill that will
expedite approval of the #TPP trade agreement.
(1) I’ve read the confidential TPP. What struck me most was the enormity of it. Two bound volumes that reference other bound volumes of trade agreements. My staff aren’t allowed to read the document, I’m not allowed to take notes from the room, and I can’t access an Internet browser in the room. How could I possibly understand the unintended consequences of this agreement over the next few decades?
(2) The implications of ceding our sovereignty to the World Trade Organization (#WTO) via trade agreements became painfully obvious to me this week. Congress literally rewrote our food labeling laws to please the WTO. The WTO said we can’t require the country of origin to be on the labels for beef and pork. I voted against removing the labels but the WTO-directed legislation passed anyway.
(3) Phone calls from my constituents are running 30 to 1, opposing versus supporting, the TPA. Some are concerned that this agreement gives this President too much additional authority. Some are concerned about the lack of transparency. These are both valid concerns.
The long and the short of it is that, while Congressman Massie might be in favor of TPA philosophically, he is against TPP. Voting for TPA would mean that TPP becomes far more likely. Also, there are many problems that exist with TPP, the least of which is that there is no way for anyone to actually understand the full ramifications of TPP.
There is also the problem of ceding any of our national sovereignty to the World Trade Organization (or WTO), which could happen through TPP. Most American do not want to cede any of our sovereignty to a multinational entity like the United Nations or the WTO.
Lastly, it seems that while liberals and unions are leading the charge against TPA and TPP – it is the conservative grassroots that is most roused into stopping the trade agreements. I’m not really sure why. I know that President Obama’s name is attached to both, but I can’t fathom that that would be the only reason conservatives are against the measures.
(Full disclosure – I am personally for TPA but against TPP. I believe that free trade is vital for a healthy economy and if we do not pass TPA it could come back to bite us economically in the very near future.)
The last reason Massie cites may be my favorite. His constituents are overwhelmingly against both trade measures, and the Congressman takes their voices seriously. He is doing what he is supposed to do — listening to his constituents, then representing them with his vote.
While I may not fully agree with his vote against TPA, I applaud his decision to explain himself and to proudly represent the voters in his district.
For a different view on TPA – read about what Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had to say about it a few weeks ago while stumping through Massachusetts.