Michele Bachmann must be reading a dumbed-down version of the Constitution if she thinks President Barack Obama does not have the power to sign overseas trade treaties, The Wall Street Journal blasted
The Minnesota congresswoman and North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones are leading GOP efforts to ensure that only Congress should regulate trade under the Constitution's Commerce Clause.
But they are misguided, the Journal says: "They must be reading 'The Constitution for Dummies.'
"The real Constitution clearly empowers the President to propose and negotiate agreements with foreign countries, which Congress can vote down. Trade promotion authority merely streamlines the process for passing an agreement through Congress."
The Journal said it is not just the GOP members who are wrong on trade. President Barack Obama has problems coming from his own party's members of Congress. More than 150 Democrats have signed on to a letter warning the president they will oppose giving the president authority to fast-track trade treaties.
Obama wants to offer trade agreements
with countries in Europe and the Pacific Rim to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote, without alteration of their contents.
The newspaper calls Obama's attempts to get free trade "a rare pro-growth proposal" from the administration. And Congress should not be trying to impede him, the editorial says. "Countries aren't about to trade concessions with the U.S. if they think Congress can rewrite a deal."
It goes on to say, "Trade agreements are often difficult to pass, as local or regional interests pressure Congress. That's why a president has to lead by explaining the national interest."
But the Journal says the president has failed to do that.
"Mr. Obama has rarely mentioned trade in his speeches, and he hasn't reached out to House Republicans who will have to provide most of the free-trade votes," it says.
"Mr. Obama needs to build a bipartisan free-trade coalition, and one place to start would be to stop demonizing the House Republicans whose votes he's going to need."
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