June 8, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement responding to revelations by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will contain a European Union-styled transnational commission:
“Senator Sessions’ revelation that the Trans-Pacific Partnership contains a ‘transnational commission’ — chartered with a ‘Living Agreement’ clause — where the Sultan of Brunei will have an equal vote as the United States should send a shudder down the spine of every member of Congress. Voting to fast track Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership is a breach of faith with the American people. This is no longer about trade, but instead about power, and reveals why Obama has called this the most ‘progressive trade deal in history.’”
Sen. Jeff Session letter to President Barack Obama, June 5, 2015, at http://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/45aa77c1-94c4-4f9a-a6a1-7459e92c771f/letter-to-obama-on-pacific-union.pdf
Text of the letter follows:
Dear Mr. President:
On May 6th of this year, I sent you a letter (enclosed) regarding your request for Congress to grant you fast-track executive authority. Under fast-track, Congress transfers its authority to the executive and agrees to give up several of its most basic powers. These concessions include: the power to write legislation, the power to amend legislation, the power to fully consider legislation on the floor, the power to keep debate open until Senate cloture is invoked, and the constitutional requirement that treaties receive a two-thirds vote.
The latter is especially important since, having been to the closed room to review the secret text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is clear it more closely resembles a treaty than a trade deal. In other words, through fast-track, Congress would be pre-clearing a political and economic union before a word of that arrangement has been made available to a single private citizen.
The letter, which received no reply, asked several fundamental questions Congress ought to have answered before even considering whether to grant the executive such broad new powers. Among those, I asked that you make public the section of the TPP that creates a new transnational governance structure known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission. The details of this new governance commission are extremely broad and have the hallmarks of a nascent European Union, with many similarities.
Reviewing the secret text, plus the secret guidance document that accompanies it, reveals that this new transnational commission — chartered with a “Living Agreement” clause — would have the authority to amend the agreement after its adoption, to add new members, and to issue regulations impacting labor, immigration, environmental, and commercial policy. Under this new commission, the Sultan of Brunei would have an equal vote to that of the United States.
The implications of this new Pacific Union are extraordinary and ought to be discussed in full, in public, before Congress even contemplates fast-tracking its creation and pre-surrendering its power to apply the constitutional two-thirds treaty vote. In effect, to adopt fast-track is to agree to remove the constitutional protections against the creation of global governance structures before those structures are even made public.
I would therefore ask that you provide to me the legal and constitutional basis for keeping this information from the public and explain why I cannot share the details of what I have read with the American people. Congress should not even consider fast-tracking the transfer of sovereign power to a transnational structure before the details of that new structure are made fully available for public review.
Very truly yours,
United States Senator
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