Mike Huckabee Opposes Obama's Trade Promotion Authority Measure & He Has An Unlikely Ally On His Side
On Tuesday evening, Senate Democrats blocked President Obama's Trade Promotion Authority measure, citing concerns over exportation of jobs and secretive, non-negotiable agreements. Immediately, top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the move, calling the stoppage messy and "shocking." The measure had come under fire by a bizarre collective that included liberal progressives like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Tea Party activists like Republican presidential candidate Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Now, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who opposed Obama's trade measure, has thrown his hat into the ring.
"Republicans must NEVER again give Obama more power," wrote Huckabee in a Daily Caller op-ed this week, clarifying that he supported free trade, but was "sick of America’s workers getting punched in the gut."
The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), if passed, would likely have allowed a fast track vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), putting the United States in a position to open up an wider exchange with several Pacific trade countries, like Japan. It may also have potentially put a heel on China's efforts to downplay certain international trade imperatives.
In the United States, supporters of the measure claimed that corporations and businesses would have been able to purchase goods and import resources for lower prices. Obama himself maintained in a recent news conference that the TPP would have created "more American jobs" while the TPA would have stamped a final seal on the details, ensuring confidence from outside countries who might otherwise reconsider the agreement due to shaky U.S. politics.
Huckabee and his fellow TPA/TPP critics, however, have railed against the measure as detrimental to U.S. workers. The former Arkansas governor continued in his op-ed:
We don’t create good jobs for Americans by entering into unbalanced trade deals that forgo congressional scrutiny and ignore the law only to import low-wage labor, undercut American workers, and drive wages lower than the Dead Sea.
The U.S. has lost five million manufacturing jobs in the last 15 years. China cheats, foreign countries break the rules, and Washington falls asleep at the wheel. The Obama administration has fooled and failed the American people for far too long. I cannot support giving this administration trade promotion authority (TPA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Huckabee compared the effort to Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's comments in 2010 as she pushed the Affordable Care Act, urging, "We have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it." As The Washington Post reports, that quote was taken out of context, and Pelosi defended her comments.
Standing alongside Huckabee is Sen. Warren — perhaps the former governor's polar opposite in all aspects but one. In an interview with The Washington Post blog Plum Line on Monday, Warren lashed out at the president's TPA bill, referring to her argument that the "fast-track" vote was merely a deceptive power that could potentially be used to crumble future Wall Street reforms and regulations.
"If the president is so confident it's a good deal, he should declassify the text and let people see it before asking Congress to tie its hands on fixing it," said Warren. "I understand that we want to be a nation that trades — that trade creates many benefits for us, but only if done on terms that strengthen the American economy and American worker."
It's not often that Tea Party supportive presidential candidates and liberal progressive lawmakers err on the same side of caution, but in this case, that union may have beaten President Obama at his own game.
"Fast-track means that nobody’s paying attention," said Huckabee in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday last week. "Why do we ever ... believe that the government fast-tracking something without thoroughly understanding the implications is the best way to go?"
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