Earlier in the month opponents of TPA were told that we were unreasonable and the prima facie evidence to support that contention was that Senator Ted Cruz supported the bill. Now things have changed.
Ted Cruz is reversing his position on a major trade bill, calling it a “corrupt” backdoor deal between Republican leaders and the White House.
The Texas firebrand and Republican 2016 presidential hopeful had been a vocal supporter of trade legislation, even co-authoring a Wall Street Journal op-ed in April saying that the fast-track bill, known as Trade Promotion Authority, is a “fair deal” for the American worker. In May, he voted to advance the TPA bill, which also included a worker aid package favored by Democrats.
But just hours before a decisive Tuesday vote, Cruz is changing his tune. He says he will vote to block the TPA bill, citing a series of deals between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Democrats — namely over an unrelated issue dealing with the Export-Import Bank. He also contends that a separate trade deal being worked out by Obama could change immigration laws and not give Congress a say.
In [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]’s op-ed at Breitbart, Cruz says, in no uncertain terms, that Mitch McConnell lied to him about trading extension of the corrupt Ex-Im Bank in exchange for GOP votes in favor of TPA.
After witnessing several senators huddle on the floor the day of the TPA vote, I suspected that to get their votes on TPA, Republican Leadership had promised supporters of Ex-Im a vote to reauthorize the bank before it winds down.
At lunch that day, I asked Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell what precise deal had been cut to pass TPA. Visibly irritated, he told me and all my Republican colleagues that there was no deal whatsoever; rather, he simply told them they could use the ordinary rules to offer whatever amendments they wanted on future legislation.
Taking McConnell at his word that there was no deal on Ex-Im, I voted yes on TPA because I believe the U.S. generally benefits from free trade, and without TPA historically there have been no free-trade agreements.
But then the vote went to the House. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, to the surprise of many, led House Democrats to oppose TPA en masse. (Technically, they voted against TAA, which was wrapped into the deal on TPA.)
At that point a group of House conservatives went to Speaker Boehner and said they could support TPA if Boehner agreed not to cut a deal with Democrats on Ex-Im, and just let the bank expire.
Boehner declined. Instead, it appears he made the deal with Democrats, presumably tossing in the Ex-Im Bank and also increasing tax penalties on businesses.
The fact that [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] has now come on board in opposition to the TPA bill just confirms what a lot of us already knew. Obama is not to be trusted with the ability to negotiate trade deals and Boehner and McConnell are working hand in glove with business interests and the administration to shaft the American worker.