Senator Orrin Hatch says he wants to push Fast Track authority next year as incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over trade. Hatch gave these remarks to the National Foreign Trade Council on December 3, 2014 when receiving the NFTC’s 2014 World Trade Award.
“Let me be clear,” Hatch (R-Utah) said in the prepared text of a speech to the NFTC, which gave him a lifetime achievement award. “I stand ready to work with [outgoing Senate Finance Committee] Chairman [Ron] Wyden, my colleagues in the Senate and the House, and the administration to get it done, get it done right, and get it done soon.
“But I also want to be clear that I will not wait forever for everyone to be satisfied before moving forward,” Hatch said just a few hours after Obama told the Business Roundtable of corporate CEOs that he planned to work on building support in Congress and the American public for approving TPA.
Hatch has not been a leader in reining in foreign mercantilism. The Fast Track legislation he cosponsored last January, but which has not passed, gives the President authority to engage in “diplomatic legislation” with mere non-binding friendly suggestions from Congress. This authority covers not only tariffs and quotas, but many other areas of Congress lawmaking power – i.e. the environment, tax, immigration, buy American, food and product safety rules.
The result of these trade deals has been illusory trade barrier reduction, true mercantilism enablement, and a continuance of 39 straight years of trade deficits. Free trade was supposed to produce balance. Free trade proponents have forgotten that basic metric and are thus, knowingly or unknowingly, pursuing fake free trade.
All the while, we are curtailing US sovereignty by transferring policy making power to international organizations and tribunals. Increasingly, congress cannot pass laws to benefit the US based upon US interests. These trade treaties substantially impact and govern what future Congresses can and cannot do.