Thursday, March 31, 2016

House Radicals Have Come Up With A Way To Derail The TPP


"It’s remarkable to me that anyone, Republican or Democrat, when given the breathtaking power to choose the rules by which we all live, would be so impoverished in spirit that he or she would be unable to come up with anything useful to do-- whether before, during or after an election."

Matt Fuller did a very smart column for HuffPo Tuesday about how anti-Establishment Republicans want to abolish the lame duck session-- between the November congressional elections and the seating on the new Congress in January. There's a minimum of accountability because there will be members in a lame duck who, for one reason or another, will never have to face the voters again. They are easily bribed, more so than when they have to weigh the bribe against a primary challenge, for example. The Establishment often gets their way during these sessions.

House freedom caucus members, he reported, "say they are trying to stop Congress from doing anything after the November election because Congress does some of its most slapdash lawmaking once an election is over. House conservatives don’t want to take any chances that the Senate confirms a Supreme Court nominee or that Congress rams through a big budget agreement that further raises spending or the expansive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal." Both those ideas places me on the side of the House Freedom Caucus... and congressional progressives ought to consider those points as well.

Bernie would certainly nominate a far better Supreme Court Justice than Merrick Garland, a conservative, and even Hillary would probably come up with someone better. As for the TPP, it would be a dead luck if Bernie wins and, again, even Hillary might be persuaded to re-open negotiations to make it less toxic on several levels that she's been forced into embracing during the primary battle with Bernie.

Paul Gosar claims getting rid of the lame duck was his idea; everyone is entitled to one good idea in his life. This would be Gosar's. Except for one problem. Gossip and some of the other extremist maniacs in the caucus aren't just talking about the TPP and Garland; they want to shut down the government by refusing to move a compromise budget.
While they don’t seem to have a clear plan yet on how exactly they would prevent GOP leadership-- particularly in the Senate-- from not holding a lame-duck session, the Freedom Caucus and its nearly 40 members have the power to block procedural votes. And Gosar told HuffPost that he’s already spoken to a number of outside conservative groups who have told him, “Count us in.”

“Here’s the story,” Gosar said. “We’re not going to do the appropriations process. We’re going to make the valiant effort, if we can even get this budget out.”

And once it’s clear that Congress can’t actually do appropriations bills because of a disagreement over how much the government should spend, Gosar continued, GOP leadership in both chambers will “throw their hands up” and Congress will pass a bill to keep government agencies running at their current levels.

  Government funding runs out on Sept. 30, so Congress will at least need a short-term spending bill-- a continuing resolution, or CR, in congressional parlance-- if lawmakers can’t get spending legislation out of both chambers and signed by the president.

At this point, a CR is looking likely. But what remains unclear is for how long. Gosar and other conservatives want it to go until at least March.

“Give the new Congress and the new president a chance to get a budget done,” he said.

But even if the CR goes until March 2017, conservatives worry about leaders finding other ways to use must-pass pieces of legislation. One Freedom Caucus member recently told HuffPost there was a lot of concern that a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization could be used for something else, which is why the HFC has been pushing to kick the FAA bill into next year-- a timeline that lawmakers privately say is picking up steam.

“The word out of our committee is it probably doesn’t have long legs, and so it’s just going to be a reauthorization, like a temporary reauthorization,” one Transportation Committee member told HuffPost last week, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private committee deliberations. “I think it’s going to be next year until there’s a real FAA reauthorization.”

But the two real concerns for conservatives are the Supreme Court and TPP.

While the House doesn’t get a vote on a Supreme Court nominee, members recognize that, for better or for worse, shutting down the lame-duck session in both chambers would prevent the Senate from confirming Merrick Garland.

HFC member Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who told HuffPost that he leans toward the no-lame-duck position, said his only concern with killing the postelection session is that, if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, she would probably nominate someone more liberal than Garland.

“So you got to be careful what you ask for here,” Perry said.

But for HFC board member Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), legislators don’t get to “pick and choose.” 

“The principle’s the principle, right?” Mulvaney told HuffPost last week. “Which is that the new president gets to nominate the nominee. And if that’s the principle, well, then you got to stick with the principle.”

Mulvaney said people know what a lame-duck session is really about. “It’s a bunch of people who have already either quit, retired or been fired by their constituents decide they still want to vote on major stuff,” he said.

“It’s the least accountable time for Congress,” Mulvaney continued. “It’s an accident of history. We should probably think about getting rid of it entirely.”

...With the heated campaign still going on, GOP leaders seem to be holding off on the trade legislation until at least the election. At this point, the trade deal seems to have a real vote problem. But some conservatives think TPP is only a matter of time.

“TPP is like Ex-Im Bank: You can get excited about it not happening, but it’s going to happen,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who was against the Export-Import Bank and is unlikely to support TPP.

“I mean, I don’t think it’s not going to happen,” Massie said of TPP. “I just don’t see it.”
Tim Canova, a Florida law professor and an expert on the devastating problems of unregulated so-called "free trade" and the job-killing treaties like NAFTA and TPP, is one of the most progressive candidates running for Congress anywhere in the country. He just happens to live in a district where Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a New Dem and TPP proponent-- she voted with the Republicans and corporate Democrats to fast track it. Tim is the last person you would ever expect to make common cause with the Freedom Caucus, but, like other progressives, this morning he said, "I must admit that I agree with the Freedom Caucus that we would be better off not holding a lame duck session of Congress after the November election. Some past lame duck sessions have resulted in terrible legislation, including the deregulation of financial derivatives and extension of the Bush tax cuts. Foregoing a lame duck session may be the only way to ensure that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) corporate giveaway is not passed by members of Congress some of whom will no longer feel any accountability to the voters. For instance, after we defeat Debbie Wasserman Schultz in our August primary, she will not have to face the voters ever again and therefore would be all that much more likely to vote in the interests of the many giant corporations that are supporting her campaign and pushing the TPP."

Please consider helping Tim win his primary so he can stop the neo-liberal policies of the corrupt corporatists like Paul Ryan and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the two sides of one very destructive coin.
Goal Thermometer

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have adjusted the Constitution to reflect electoral realities where the White House is concerned (FDR's Second Inaugural), so when do we do so for the Congress? It is VERY rare for me to agree with a Republican proposal, but considering how Obama screwed us during a lame duck session (when tax breaks for the wealthy were passed when it's the middle class which needed help) only adds to the reason why this particular GOP effort should be supported. The TPP MUST DIE!


Post a Comment

<< Home