Confusion is wide over the debate over the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill. Barack Obama, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell all supported the bill. The confusion is about being pro-TPA and pro-trade or anti-TPA and anti-trade.
Bryan Riley of The Heritage Foundation has a possible answer to settle the confusion.
“It’s true that negotiating objectives included in the TPA bill passed by Congress include plenty for free-traders to like, including `the reduction or elimination of barriers and distortions that are directly related to trade and investment.’
“But the bill also has components that should concern free trade advocates. It directs trade negotiators to preserve destructive U.S. antidumping laws instead of working to reduce other countries’ antidumping laws, and calls for countries to adhere to international environmental and labor agreements of dubious value. It expresses concern about currency manipulation, a protectionist standby.
“The best summary of the relationship between TPA and free trade is `it’s complicated.’
“There are also non-trade-related parts of the bill that should alarm conservatives. It urges respect for `internationally recognized human rights,’ which for the United Nations and most countries includes international covenants like the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, neither of which has been ratified by the United States."
Riley continues with other reasons why conservatives should be alarmed by the bill but support free trade. Riley ended his post with this quote from President Ronald Reagan.
“The winds and waters of commerce carry opportunities that help nations grow and bring citizens of the world closer together. Put simply, increased trade spells more jobs, higher earnings, better products, less inflation, and cooperation over confrontation. The freer the flow of world trade, the stronger the tides for economic progress and peace among nations.
I believe the better question is, “Why are McConnell and Boehner supporting this plan for Mr. Obama?”