Paul Ryan Channels Pelosi: "You Have To Pass ObamaTrade To See What’s In ObamaTrade"

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Chief Obamatrade proponent House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted during Congressional testimony on Wednesday evening that despite tons of claims from him and other Obamatrade supporters to the contrary, the process is highly secretive.

 

He also made a gaffe in his House Rules Committee testimony on par with former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’s push to pass Obamacare, in which she said infamously said: “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

 

“It’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to,” Ryan said of Obamatrade in Rules Committee testimony on Wednesday during questioning from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX).

 

What Ryan is technically referring to is that TPP will become public if TPA is agreed to—but Congress will lose much of its ability to have oversight over and influence on the process, since TPP is, in many respects, already negotiated. It’s 800 pages long, and on fast-track, Congress will only get an up-or-down vote and won’t be able to offer amendments. The Senate vote threshold also drops down to a simple majority rather than normally having a 60-vote threshold, or in the case of treaties, a 67-vote threshold.

 

– From the Breitbart article: Paul Ryan’s Pelosi-Esque Obamatrade Moment: ‘It’s Declassified and Made Public Once it’s Agreed To’

If you still think that the establishment Republicans in Congress represent real opposition to President Obama’s policies, you’re either extremely brainwashed or extremely stupid.

Honestly, I don’t know what it will take for some people to wake up. How many times do you need to be used, abused and conned by slimy politicians before you can shake off your political Stockholm Syndrome? Does John Boehner need to drive up to your front door in a motorcade and eat your first born’s liver at the dinner table with your wife’s silverware before you get it? It’s pathetic.

The focus of today’s piece is the secretive corporatist giveaway known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP. I’ve written about this frequently as of late, see:

Forget the TPP – Wikileaks Releases Documents from the Equally Shady “Trade in Services Agreement,” or TISA

America’s Most Wanted Secret – Wikileaks is Raising $100K Reward for Leaked Drafts of the TPP

Julian Assange on the TPP – “Deal Isn’t About Trade, It’s About Corporate Control”

Trade Expert and TPP Whistleblower – “We Should Be Very Concerned about What’s Hidden in This Trade Deal”

As the Senate Prepares to Vote on “Fast Track,” Here’s a Quick Primer on the Dangers of the TPP

With the Senate having predictably passed Trade Promotion Authority, i.e., “fast track,” it now moves to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be put to a vote tomorrow. Initially, many observers predicted fast track would have a harder time passing in the House, but fortunately for Obama, Republicans have never worked harder to push anything since the Iraq War. As I noted on Twitter earlier:

Don’t believe me. How about this headline from the Hill earlier today: GOP, Obama on Cusp of Fast-Track Trade Victory.

If that does’t tell you everything you need to know, I don’t know what will.

Here are a few excerpts from that piece:

House Republicans have set the stage for a high-stakes vote Friday to grant President Obama fast-track trade authority.

 

While objections from some Democrats on a last-minute deal related to the trade package raised some doubts about the outcome, Obama and the GOP appear poised to earn a significant victory.

 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest expressed confidence there would be a “bipartisan majority” behind the bill.

 

“Outbreaks of bipartisanship in the House of Representatives in the last couple of years have not been common, so that’s why I would not characterize it as a slam dunk,” he said.

Before you break out the champagne…

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All that said, this isn’t really bipartisan. It’s all about the Republicans slobbering over themselves to push this sovereignty destroying “trade” agreement into law.

In case you still harbor any doubts as to how seriously Republican leadership is taking this whole debate, Paul Ryan made it abundantly clear when he slipped up and channeled Nancy Pelosi the other day. Breitbart reports that:

Chief Obamatrade proponent House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted during Congressional testimony on Wednesday evening that despite tons of claims from him and other Obamatrade supporters to the contrary, the process is highly secretive.

 

He also made a gaffe in his House Rules Committee testimony on par with former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’s push to pass Obamacare, in which she said infamously said: “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

 

“It’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to,” Ryan said of Obamatrade in Rules Committee testimony on Wednesday during questioning from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX).

 

What Ryan is trying to convince House Republicans to do is vote for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) which would fast-track at least three highly secretive trade deals—specifically the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)—and potentially more deals.

 

Right now, TiSA and T-TIP text are completely secretive and unavailable for even members of Congress to read while TPP text is available for members to review—although they need to go to a secret room inside the Capitol where only members of Congress and certain staffers high-level security clearances, who can only go when members are present, can read the bill.

 

Ryan’s exchange in which he made this gaffe came as Burgess, who opposes Obamatrade, and Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who stands with Ryan supporting it, were discussing the secrecy of the deal with him. It came right after an incredible exchange where Ryan attempted a ploy to try to save immigration provisions contained within the Obamatrade package as a whole—specifically TiSA—that were exposed by Breitbart News earlier on Wednesday, a problem for which he put forward a phony non-solution designed to get more votes for his Obamatrade agenda but not stop the immigration provisions.

Immigration provisions? What? Yep, you read that right. More on this later.

“And I appreciate all of that but again, you read through this language down in the secret room and I welcome the day when people can read it—“ Burgess said, before Ryan cut him off.

 

“By the way, TPA—it’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to,” Ryan said.

You really can’t make this stuff up. So conservative of you Mr. Ryan.

What Ryan is technically referring to is that TPP will become public if TPA is agreed to—but Congress will lose much of its ability to have oversight over and influence on the process, since TPP is, in many respects, already negotiated. It’s 800 pages long, and on fast-track, Congress will only get an up-or-down vote and won’t be able to offer amendments. The Senate vote threshold also drops down to a simple majority rather than normally having a 60-vote threshold, or in the case of treaties, a 67-vote threshold.

 

Sessions then jumped in to say he and Ryan are available to answer any questions about this matter whenever anyone wants—yet Sessions’ committee staff is publicly refusing to answer any detailed questions from Breitbart News on Obamatrade at this time.

 

Burgess noted how the process seeking fast-track in the Bush administration was much more transparent than it is now.

 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman. I promised to be on my best behavior today and I am really trying—it took a long time for me to even be able to see the agreement down in the secret room even though I was willing to sign the release that said I wouldn’t talk about it. It took me a long time to get an audience with the U.S. Trade Representative,” Burgess said. “It should not have done that. Ten years ago we did CAFTA [Central American Free Trade Agreement], Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) was in my office—he lived there. I couldn’t get rid of him.

 

“This time, I couldn’t get a—it was an act of Congress literally to get him to come and talk to my subcommittee on Energy and Commerce, which is the subcommittee of Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

By “him,” he seems to be referring to top U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman. In case you aren’t familiar with him, see: How Obama’s Top Trade Representative, Michael Froman, Received Millions from Citigroup During the Financial Crisis.

Ryan then interrupted Burgess again to argue that his concerns over the secrecy are why Republicans should relent and support Obamatrade.

Um, ok. Meanwhile, it appears Mr. Ryan is going out of his way to grant Obama increased immigration powers. Also from Breitbart:

In the wake of revelations that technically a vote for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) would be a vote to grant the executive branch massively-expanded immigration powers, the Washington establishment cooked up an elaborate ruse to try to save the flailing Obamatrade bill.

 

Earlier on Wednesday, leading up to the House Rules Committee hearing where chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) is teaming up with House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Breitbart News exposed the expansive immigration provisions inside the Obamatrade package. Specifically, secret Obamatrade documents leaked to Wikileaks show that there are provisions contained within draft Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) text that would massively expand President Obama’s immigration authority when it comes to immigration matters.“The existence of these ten pages on immigration in the Trade and Services Agreement make it absolutely clear in my mind that the administration is negotiating immigration – and for them to say they are not – they have a lot of explaining to do based on the actual text in this agreement,” NumbersUSA director of government relations Rosemary Jenks told Breitbart News.

Well then.

“I understand the concerns you have expressed about including in U.S. free trade agreements any provisions related to U.S. immigration laws, particularly any provision obligating the United States to grant access or expand access to visas issued under section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(15)),” Ryan wrote to King about the agreement to put forward the King amendment. “In acknowledgement of these concerns, I would like to convey that when the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015 is considered in the House, I intend to seek adoption of the text of Senate Amendment 1385, offered by Senator Hatch and Senator Cruz when the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act was considered by the Senate last month, as well as the language you propose in your letter, to ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to U.S. immigration laws.”

 

What Ryan is saying here — in response to concerns King raised about immigration provisions in trade agreements being fast-tracked under TPA in a previous letter to Ryan — is that Ryan will include an amendment in future legislation, not the current TPA. That means that the current TPA, if it passes the House, would still allow the immigration provisions to move forward. It also means the U.S. Senate could reject the amendment on the future legislation — which it probably will — and that if the Senate somehow does pass the legislation, Obama could veto it.

 

That didn’t stop King from claiming — inaccurately — in a press release that this compromise with Ryan would fix the issue.

 

Glyn Wright, the executive director of Eagle Forum, told Breitbart News in an email that this whole ruse wouldn’t fix anything:

 

“Although American voters gave Republicans the majority in Congress to stop Obama, Republican Leadership is desperate to accomplish his top priority — the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There are a variety of concerns with the process and the policy of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and Leadership is currently twisting arms and making promises in a desperate attempt to limit defections of conservative Members who have legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, several Members have traded their votes for meaningless, pie-in-the-sky promises on issues like immigration, currency manipulation, anti-dumping provisions. These are legitimate issues that should be addressed in the actual text of TPA with enforceable provisions, not currently included in TPA. Instead, Chairman Ryan is promising that their concerns will be addressed in a future customs bill — the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act. The customs bill is completely separate from TPA, and even if these concerns are addressed, it will be conferenced with the Senate where conservatives are unlikely to win. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that President Obama will sign the customs bill, even if it passes the House and the Senate. These promises will only serve to garner TPA enough votes; they will not affect the final agreement. Pew Research Center recently released a poll stating 75 percent of the Republican-leaning public want Republicans in Congress to challenge Obama more often. Instead, Republican Leadership is intent on running roughshod over conservative principles to achieve President Obama’s top priority in the name of free trade.”

 

Cruz, of course, has previously praised this amendment that didn’t really fix the problem back in the Senate side of things. In fact, Cruz’s office—now several weeks later—still hasn’t answered detailed questions about the amendment from Breitbart News. But he did issue a statement supportive of it.

Ah Ted Cruz, the biggest sham corporatist masquerading as a “libertarian” in Congress.

Of course, everything Ryan said — as Glyn Wright of Eagle Forum noted previously — was untrue. But more importantly, all the politicians in Washington were happy as as Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) wrapped that segment of the Rules Committee hearing by saying Ryan has done “an outstanding job” putting together phony fixes to real problems.

 

Pete Sessions’ office, despite a claim during the hearing from the chairman that he would be transparent about this matter, has explicitly refused to answer questions from Breitbart News about this matter. Cruz’s team hasn’t responded to a request for comment on record either.

While all of this is certainly depressing, I want to end this piece on a positive note. Political change is notoriously slow, but it is happening. For evidence, see the following excerpts from a Wall Street Journal article published today:

Tea party activists, labor unions both say Obama’s trade agenda is undemocratic and secretive.

 

Some of the fiercest opponents of President Barack Obama’s trade policy on the left and right are sending notably similar messages in a bid to kill legislation in the House designed to expedite a major Pacific trade deal.

 

With a deciding vote set for Friday, unions and progressive groups are emphasizing arguments that also appeal to conservative organizations, accusing the Obama administration of undue secrecy, stretching the limits of executive power and undermining U.S. sovereignty.

 

“There are some areas where the guys on the left—unions and others—get it right, and this is one of those issues,” said Judson Phillips,head of Tea Party Nation, one of the main tea party organizations.

 

But liberal and conservative groups are targeting a specific arbitration feature of the TPP known as investor-state dispute settlement, which allows investors from one country to sue foreign governments in an international arbitration panel rather than in national courts. The administration points out that the U.S. has never lost a case in the decades-old arbitration system, but lawmakers ranging from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) have warned the measure could undermine U.S. laws.

 

The obscure legal provision helped bring together perhaps the biggest foe of Mr. Obama’s trade policy— Lori Wallach of the nonprofit group Public Citizen—with Mr. Phillips of Tea Party Nation.

 

The two met at the Washington studios of Russian state television network RT, recognized a shared legal background and point of view, chatted later at a Starbucks, and appeared together at the debut of Ralph Nader’s book “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.”

 

"Lori is probably the polar opposite from me, at least politically, and yet it’s very interesting the number of issues she and I agree on,” Mr. Phillips said.

While these two working together is great, the fact one of them would still say the other is “the polar opposite from me, at least politically, and yet it’s very interesting the number of issues she and I agree on,” shows you how deep the propaganda and brainwashing runs. Judson Phillips still thinks some meaningless, outdated brand such as “Republican” or “Democrat” means something. It doesn’t. If you agree on a lot of issues, then you aren’t polar opposites politically. Stop believing the hype and come together for real. Let’s not forget:

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An entirely new political movement is being born, these things just take a long time to catch fire. Nothing that is done can’t be reversed, after all, look at what politicians did to the Constitution. If you’re still in doubt, see:

A Libertarian-Liberal Alliance Forms to Tackle Criminal Justice Reform

Thoughts on Election Day: Relax—Both Parties Are Going Extinct

#StandwithRand: The Filibuster that United Libertarian and Progressive Activists

Former Aide to Bill Clinton Speaks – “My Party Has Lost its Soul”