Miller votes “yes” on Obamatrade power grab: stalled bill could still pass

Congressman Jeff Miller (R) Fl-District 1

Congressman Jeff Miller (R) Fl-District 1

by Deborah Nelson

June 13, 2015

 

Florida District 1 U.S. House Representative Jeff Miller voted ‘yes’ on a “fast track” bill to cede Congressional authority to write trade legislation to the President, according to a roll call vote tally reported by ABC News.

The fast track bill is stalled in Congress because a separate measure to protect workers displaced by “free trade” did not pass.  That bill’s passage was necessary in order to vote on the fast track measure.  The fast track vote was taken anyway, and will stand if the worker protection segment passes in a re-vote.

Congress is expected to retry the worker protection bill next week.  If it passes, fast track will also pass.

Fast track would allow the President to write future “free trade” bills with no input from Congress, and send them forward for a yes or no vote, with no amendments and debate limited to 20 hours.

NAFTA, The World Trade Organization (WTO), CAFTA and similar 2011 trade deals in Panama, North Korea and Columbia also passed under “fast track” authority. It has since expired.

CAFTA passed by 2 votes. Miller’s was one of them.

Miller also voted “YES” to the three 2011 pacts.

The U.S. has been participating in secret “free trade” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations since 2008. Other participants include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Obama has been criticized for negotiating with Malaysia despite documented evidence of a widespread slave trade.

TPP talks are closed to the public, press and members of Congress. After an outcry over the secrecy, President Obama recently allowed elected officials to view lengthy trade documents in a guarded room. They may not take photos, notes or bring expert advisors along. It’s not clear if the documents that were made available reflect current information.

Leaks suggest the TPP agreement contains Investor State Lawsuit provisions. Those provisions allow foreign corporations to sue (in secret, extrajudicial tribunals) American local governments for “lost future revenues” they allege are caused by local government policy. NAFTA, CAFTA and other past agreements contained Investor State provisions.

The WTO recently ordered the United States to get rid of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations on meat.

Many TPP signatories are Southeast Asian nations, home to a major shrimp industry.

If TPP passes, products like “unsanitary shrimp from Vietnam” may start appearing in American grocery stores unlabeled, watchdog group Public Citizen warns.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently inspects less than one percent of all seafood imports for health hazards. Even with these minimal inspections, high levels of fecal contamination have been found in imported shrimp,” a Public Citizen press release notes.

“These unsafe imports would skyrocket under the TPP and further overwhelm inspectors’ limited ability to ensure the safety of our food.”

America’s trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled, to $14 billion, since the Korea pact was signed, according to U.S. Census figures released May 5, as reported by Public Citizen. Exports to Korea decreased 6 percent ($2.7 billion) while imports increased 19 percent ($11.3 billion) in three years.

“The trade deficit increase equates to the loss of more than 93,000 American jobs in the first three years of the Korea FTA, counting both exports and imports, according to the trade-jobs ratio that the Obama administration used to project gains from the deal,” according to Public Citizen.

Fast Track would also apply to a separate, U.S.-Europe deal called the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).  TAFTA is also called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

UPDATE:  Article updated to clarify that the fast track vote was taken despite the required worker protection bill failing to pass, and will stand if the worker protection segment passes in a re-vote.

2 Comments

  • Randy Cudd says:

    I am growing very tired of this politician, he does not represent the people..time for him to go back to the private sector.

  • Deborah says:

    Randy, I don’t understand why Mr. Miller won’t respond to requests for comment on this.

    I’d think if you support a particular policy, you’d be anxious to tell constituents why.

    Especially one that’ll impact so many American jobs. And allow foreign corporations to sue duly elected American governments for policies they don’t like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.