Home > Foreign Policy, Free Market > Don’t let Congresswoman Noem and President Obama push through TPP

Don’t let Congresswoman Noem and President Obama push through TPP

April 30, 2014

tpp-fast-track-1A month ago I posted about the South Dakota Legislature passing a resolution endorsing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). I took special note of that non-binding resolution because I knew TPP would be coming up as a topic in DC later this year; and that time has now arrived. Last week the Obama administration made a four day trip in Asia and several members of Congress (including SD Rep Noem) also made a trip to Asia for over a week. Both trips involved the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Since returning from that trip it is expected that there will be a big push to pass TPP in the United States. That push needs to be stopped!

TPP is a large topic, so I won’t try to summarize it here. My previous post looked at some of the transparency and copyright issues I have with TPP. I would suggest everyone read this summary of TPP provided by Lydia Depillis at the Washing Post for a good primer. Here are some key points from her summary:

  • The Obama administration hopes to use TPP as a means to create China as our trade partner of focus, and get us out of the Middle East.
  • TPP is NOT just a trade agreement, at least not in the traditional sense. TPP also includes provisions on regulations and laws that must be adhered to by countries joining the agreement. That would mean the US would have to abide by the regulations set forth, even though they have never been vetted in public or debated in Congress.
  • TPP has 29 chapters included in it. Most of those chapters have nothing to do with ‘trade’.
  • The only things we know about TPP is from anonymous sources. Since everything being done with TPP is behind closed doors we don’t even know everything that has been included in it.
  • The scope and scale of TPP is unprecedented. Even if there is good portions of TPP, I cannot understand anyone that would support such a massive agreement (it would be a “sign it to see whats in it” type of action by Congress).

In January of this year the Obama administration had tried to ‘fastrack’ TPP. Fastracking is an ability that had previously been given to Presidents to promote trade ability. It basically allowed the administration to negotiate treaties and then send it to Congress for an Yes or No vote. That method is preferred by Presidents because it prevents individual parts of the treaty from being removed or otherwise amended. Congress failed to extend that right to the President in 2007 (during the Bush years). Obama in particular has been pushing for a fastrack approach because he knows there are parts of TPP that would never make it through Congress unamended. If the agreement is amended by Congress at all it would have to go before the other members of TPP for ratification. It is unlikely the other countries would agree to any changes we make.

It is expected that Obama will push hard once again to fastract TPP now that he is back from Asia. It is imperative Obama is not allowed to do so. Currently it doesn’t look like there is enough support in DC for the fastrack, but that doesn’t mean the Obama administration can’t find a way to make it happen.

But what about Noem’s involvement in all of this?

As I noted above there was a delegation of Congressmen that also made an Asia trip last week. Amongst those was South Dakota’s lone Representative Kristi Noem. She apparently went as an advocate of the agricultural industry. This week she gave the a speech on the House floor summarizing her trip to Asia. Here is a video of this speech:

It is quite apparent from her speech that she is promoting TPP. She went on to mention the many trade benefits to South Dakota and the United States for the agricultural industry. She believes South Dakota in particular could increase our exports to Asia dramatically under the deal. Noem makes the case that China wants USDA beef (will we see a “Where’s the beef” commercial in China?) But she also says she will not support TPP unless it eliminates trade barriers to agriculture.

There is a problem with Noems objections to TPP being based solely upon agricultural trade barriers. It gives the impression that she doesn’t understand many of the other non-agricultural parts of TPP that are bad. Yes, she was likely included in the delegation because she represents an agricultural state and she is good at following Majority Leader Cantor’s orders. But there is so much more to TPP than just agricultural trade (remember there are 29 chapters included in TPP, agriculture would be one small part of just one chapter). Even though she is the chosen agricultural ‘expert’ doesn’t mean she should only be considering that when looking at TPP. Her inability to look beyond her subject of expertise is disheartening to say the least.

Luckily TPP is unlikely to be fastracked by the Obama administration. But I don’t think ‘unlikely’ gives enough comfort to those that would oppose TPP. I could foresee situations where Rep Cantor would agree to push TPP through Congress (Republicans have traditionally supported the fastrack approach) and that good loyal Congressmen such as Noem would fall in line to pass it. To make sure that doesn’t happen it is time for constituents to let their Congressional delegation know TPP is NOT wanted by the United States. For those of us living in South Dakota I believe it is important to let Kristi Noem know there is more wrong with TPP than her subject of ‘expertise’. We need to let Congress know that we don’t want our country to be regulated to international treaties that have no transparency or accountability to We the People of the United States.

  1. April 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I had some questions about this early on, like, “Will the US be able to tap into the pipeline and transfer our own oil?” and “If we build a refinery will the Canadian oil be refined here and shipped to American industry?”…Negative on both accounts. Then where does this oil go? I asked. “To the gulf and then to China.” I was told. Also….I am getting calls where Canada is using eminent domain to take South Dakotan’s land. That is not legal unless someone “deems it so” which means twisting the law to make it “fit” the wanted result. Finally, it is a buried pipe and not an above ground pipe which means a leak could go on for a longer time without a repair…..looks to me like the only jobs this will create after installation are clean-up jobs….

  2. May 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Tiffany's Non-Blog and commented:
    Thanks to SoDakLiberty for addressing the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

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