Tags: Barack Obama | Phyllis Schlafly | free-trade | Pacific | authority

Phyllis Schlafly Warns Against Giving Obama 'Fast-Track' Trade Power

By    |   Friday, 02 Jan 2015 08:26 PM

President Barack Obama's increasing use of executive power on issues such as immigration may hamper his efforts to win Republican support for special authority to negotiate a major free-trade deal with Pacific Rim nations, The Washington Times reports.

Republican lawmakers, many of them ardent supporters of free trade, have been more supportive than Democrats of giving the president "fast-track" trade promotion authority.

But having watched Obama grant deportation amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and establish diplomatic relations with the Castro regime in Cuba without consulting Congress, conservatives are increasingly reluctant to grant Obama any additional powers.

"Fast-track authority" would give Obama the power to negotiate trade agreements and "assure foreign governments that Congress won't alter the terms of the deal after the agreement is signed," the Times noted.

House Speaker John Boehner is a supporter, as is Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is in line to become the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The free-trade agreement would include 12 nations on the Pacific Rim, making up close to 40 percent of the world's economic output. China is not included in the talks, but negotiators include Japan, Canada and Mexico. South Korea and Taiwan have expressed interest in joining the pact, but have not officially signed the negotiating agreement.

Obama portrays the agreement as critical to establishing a counterweight to Beijing's influence in the Pacific. But for the second year in a row, he fell short on his promise to conclude a deal by year's end.

The debate has created unusual political alliances, with many Republican lawmakers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce siding with Obama, and liberal environmentalists who argue that the trade deal would weaken environmental standards joining with conservatives wary of granting additional power to the president in opposition.

One of the sharpest critics of the measure is conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.

Schlafly, 90, is best known for leading the successful campaign to defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and '80s. She says it would be "insane" for Republican lawmakers to grant Obama additional authority to negotiate trade deals after loudly protesting his increased use of executive actions.

In a recent column, she issued a warning of sorts to Republicans inclined to support the measure.

Schlafly wrote that "the biggest Republican majority elected in more than 60 years promised to bring new life to Congress. But instead of offering a conservative agenda to millions of Americans who elected them, lawmakers are "dallying with a plan to give even more power to Obama."

"It's called 'fast track,' and it's a scheme to authorize the president to negotiate with officials of foreign governments in secret, and then bring their agreement to Congress for an up-or-down vote within a limited time period, practically without debate or chance for a filibuster."

Schafly went on to quote Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a liberal critic of fast-track authority, who objected to the bill as a cave-in to Wall Street and other special interests.

According to Schlafly, "it makes no sense for the Republican Congress to turn unrestricted negotiating power over to a president who has already demonstrated that he has no regard for the rule of law, constitutional restraints, or the separation of powers."

She's making it increasingly clear that by supporting Obama on fast-track, Republican leaders are setting the stage for a tough political battle with much of their party's conservative base.

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President Barack Obama's increasing use of executive power on issues such as immigration may hamper his efforts to win Republican support for special authority to negotiate a major free-trade deal with Pacific Rim nations, The Washington Times reports.
Phyllis Schlafly, free-trade, Pacific, authority
568
2015-26-02
Friday, 02 Jan 2015 08:26 PM
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