The Corner

The Secrecy Complaints About TPP Are Also Meritless

In yesterday’s post, I argued — in agreement with NR’s editorialthat it is a mistake to conflate (a) the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact that the Obama administration is still negotiating with (b) Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that would grant the president the ability to seek an up-or-down vote from Congress on trade deals (including TPP) on a reasonably swift time frame. TPA is a good idea, is fully constitutional, and would not prevent Congress from rejecting a bad trade deal — which is exactly what Congress should do in the case of TPP if it turns out to be a bad deal. In a column on the homepage today, I examine another objection TPP opponents raise: the purported secrecy in which the agreement is shrouded. As readers will see, this objection is a red herring which confuses the draft agreement (the work in progress that the administration has made available to Congress under restrictive terms while it conducts the sensitive negotiations) with the final agreement (which will be available to both the public and Congress long before Congress is asked to vote on TPP legislation). 

As today’s column relates: 

There is no requirement for the executive branch to show Congress anything that is preliminary. The only agreement that is going to be voted on is the final agreement — at least if Obama wants that agreement to have the force of American law.

Significantly, with respect to that final agreement — which, to repeat, does not exist yet — the transparency protocols are apparently extensive. According to AEI’s Claude Barfield, the legislation will provide that the actual text of the final TPP agreement must be available not just to Congress but to the public for 60 days before the president is permitted to sign it. After that, if he wants the agreement to have the force of American law, the president must formally submit the final agreement to Congress, which would then have 90 days to review and vote on it.

That is, the supposedly “secret” TPP may not be approved until the public and our representatives in Congress have five months to scrutinize it.

If Dr. Barfield is correct, and I have found nothing to suggest otherwise, then the complaints about a secret deal being rammed through Congress and foisted on an unsuspecting public – à la Obamacare – are risible.

The full column is here.

 

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More