Newsflash:
Issues End Wars and Occupations, Redirect Funding Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Issues Remain Low-Profile in Congress
Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:45

Trade Issues Remain Low-Profile in Congress

Written by  Michael Catalini and Elahe Izadi | National Journal
Rep. Devin Nunes Rep. Devin Nunes Alex Wong/Getty Images

To hear lawmakers tell it, efforts to move trade legislation through the House Ways and Means Committee, while earnest and ongoing, have hit snags in the 113th Congress.

Several big pieces of legislation are slowly winding their way through the committee, including bills dealing with trade-promotion authority and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has not ruled out holding hearings on TPA, which includes a "fast-track" provision allowing the president to submit trade bills to Congress for straight up-or-down votes. But he has not scheduled any hearings dedicated to the issue through the end of the year. Congress last passed TPA in 2002, and that law expired in 2007. The measure also sets up a framework for negotiating trade agreements.

While both Nunes and subcommittee ranking member Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., avoid political sniping, friction is there nonetheless.

"All I can tell you is what I know is that the president in his public statements has indicated an interest in the fast-track and the TPA," Rangel said. "Whatever is going on, Democrats are not involved."

Nunes said the House has a chance to lead on trade-promotion authority because, as he put it, House and Senate Democrats have reached a stalemate.

"That's why I'm trying to take the temperature on TPA," Nunes said. "I'd like to see if we can get that through. If the Democrats don't want to play ball, then I think we should try to do move that on our own."

Part of the reason Nunes hasn't set up more public hearings on trade issues is that they tip off potential trading partners to U.S. negotiating positions. Such talks are best held behind closed doors, the thinking goes.

"Any time you get the cameras in front of congressmen, it can be fun," Nunes said.

Many members also were not in Congress in 2002, and so Nunes faces an educational hurdle as he explains TPA's importance—and this trade authority bothers some members because outwardly it appears to give deference to the White House. Republicans, though, point out that Congress is heavily involved at the outset, authoring negotiating objectives, for example.

"Members are coming up to speed, but it just takes time," Nunes said.

Another key to moving TPA, say Republicans, is increased involvement from the White House. If President Obama engaged more on the issue, that would help speed things along, they argue.

But some off Capitol Hill point to the fact that Obama has been pushing harder on trade issues than during his first term. In a September speech to the Export Council, Obama specifically said trade-promotion authority was needed.

"It's obviously helpful when you have an administration and president who are talking more about how this is more important," said Christopher Wenk, senior director of international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "There's a steady drumbeat on how important it is."

Stacy Kaper contributed to this article.

This article appears in the October 24, 2013, edition of NJ Daily as Global Economic Issues Simmer Behind the Scenes

Read 2736 times

End Wars and Occupations Articles

  • America's Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953
    America's Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953

    U.S. efforts to overthrow foreign governments leave the world less peaceful, less just and less hopeful.

    Soon after the 2004 U.S. coup to depose President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, I heard Aristide's lawyer Ira Kurzban speaking in Miami.  He began his talk with a riddle: "Why has there never been a coup in Washington D.C.?"  The answer: "Because there is no U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C."  This introduction was greeted with wild applause by a mostly Haitian-American audience who understood it only too well.

    Written on Thursday, 10 April 2014 19:30 Read more...
  • The Pentagon's Phony Budget War
    The Pentagon's Phony Budget War

    Or How the U.S. Military Avoided Budget Cuts, Lied About Doing So, Then Asked for Billions More

    Washington is pushing the panic button, claiming austerity is hollowing out our armed forces and our national security is at risk. That was the message Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered last week when he announced that the Army would shrink to levels not seen since before World War II.

    Written on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 18:57 Read more...
  • The Pentagon's Phony Budget War
    The Pentagon's Phony Budget War

    Washington is pushing the panic button, claiming austerity is hollowing out our armed forces and our national security is at risk. That was the message Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered last week when he announced that the Army would shrink to levels not seen since before World War II. Headlines about this crisis followed in papers like the New York Timesand members of Congress issued statements swearing that they would never allow our security to be held hostage to the budget-cutting process.

    Written on Friday, 07 March 2014 00:44 Read more...
  • 35 Countries Where the U.S. Has Supported Fascists, Drug Lords and Terrorists
    35 Countries Where the U.S. Has Supported Fascists, Drug Lords and Terrorists

    The U.S. is backing Ukraine's extreme right-wing Svoboda party and violent neo-Nazis whose armed uprising paved the way for a Western-backed coup. Events in the Ukraine are giving us another glimpse through the looking-glass of U.S. propaganda wars against fascism, drugs and terrorism. The ugly reality behind the mirror is that the U.S. government has a long and unbroken record of working with fascists, dictators, druglords and state sponsors of terrorism in every region of the world in its elusive but relentless quest for unchallenged global power.  

    Written on Friday, 07 March 2014 00:20 Read more...
  • We Need To End the Disastrous Failure Of The War On Terror
    We Need To End the Disastrous Failure Of The War On Terror

    America's military adventures have fueled a global explosion of terrorism and a historic breakdown of law and order.

    Twelve years into America's "war on terror," it is time to admit that it has failed catastrophically, unleashing violence, war and instability in an "arc of terror" stretching from West Africa to the Himalayas and beyond. 

    Written on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 01:28 Read more...
  • Iran Breakthrough a Triumph for Pragmatists and a Defeat for the Warmongers
    Iran Breakthrough a Triumph for Pragmatists and a Defeat for the Warmongers

    The implementation of the Iran accord Monday signaled a modest but still important sea change in that country’s relationship with the world. As with all good diplomacy, the deal is a win-win for Iran and the United Nations Security Council’s permanent members.

    Written on Thursday, 23 January 2014 15:29 Read more...
  • Syria Peace Talks: Bitter Exchanges Mark First Day Of Negotiations
     Syria Peace Talks: Bitter Exchanges Mark First Day Of Negotiations

    MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — The United Nations is taking a day to see if there is enough common ground between Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition to talk directly for the first time since the rebellion began in 2011.

    Written on Thursday, 23 January 2014 15:23 Read more...
  • No Seat For Syrian Women at the Peace Talks
    No Seat For Syrian Women at the Peace Talks

    The talks in Syria began today, with the Syrian government and opposition exchanging accusations and invectives. Missing was the voice of nonviolent civilians, especially women, even through they have been trying for months to have a seat at the table.

    Written on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 17:16 Read more...
  • Drones Will Be Tested in 10 US States - Is Yours One?
    Drones Will Be Tested in 10 US States - Is Yours One?

    At least ten states will be sites for testing drones — unmanned aircraft — in the next couple of years, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) announced on Monday. Six institutions have been authorized to operate test locations for the use of drones and for studying how they will interact with air traffic systems.

    Written on Sunday, 05 January 2014 20:49 Read more...
  • Demilitarizing the Economy: A Movement is Underway
    Demilitarizing the Economy: A Movement is Underway

    As we end the longest period of war in our history, we should be entering a period of postwar downsizing - but what about the communities dependent on the massive post-9/11 military budget?

    End wars. Shrink the Pentagon budget. Reinvest the savings in neglected domestic priorities. It’s a logical progression. Right?

    Written on Friday, 20 December 2013 00:00 Read more...
  • Congresswoman Lee on Nelson Mandela’s Passing
    Congresswoman Lee on Nelson Mandela’s Passing

    Washington, D.C.— Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement on the passing of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela:

    Written on Friday, 06 December 2013 17:29 Read more...
  • Anti-Drone Movement Speaks: 'End the Secrecy, No to Kill List'
    Anti-Drone Movement Speaks: 'End the Secrecy, No to Kill List' Activists from across the globe kicked off the largest-ever anti-drone summit Friday with a boisterous White House rally then march to the headquarters of one of the most notorious weapons manufacturers in the world.
    Written on Saturday, 16 November 2013 01:11 Read more...
  • US built 'powerful organs of state terrorism' in Iraq
    US built 'powerful organs of state terrorism' in Iraq

    Iraq is still suffering from the US invasion because the apparatus of state oppression and terror is still in place, killing people every day. But few in the US seem to realize the scale of the war crimes committed in Iraq, an expert author told RT.

    Written on Saturday, 09 November 2013 19:49 Read more...
  • The Tragic History of U.S. Military Supremacy
    The Tragic History of U.S. Military Supremacy

    Having the most expensive and destructive military does not make the American people safer. The idea of U.S. "national security" seems inextricably entangled with the notion of "military supremacy."

    Written on Friday, 25 October 2013 02:20 Read more...
  • Reading Obama’s Iran Speech
    Reading Obama’s Iran Speech

    All of a sudden we’re talking to Iran. Now, granted, that shouldn’t be such an astonishing bombshell. But given the reality of the last several decades, it pretty much is. And that’s all good. It’s been too long coming, it’s still too hesitant, there’s still too much hinting about military force behind it… but we’re talking. Foreign minister to foreign minister, Kerry to Zarif, it’s all a good sign.

    Written on Thursday, 26 September 2013 01:36 Read more...
  • Beating Swords Into Solar Panels
    Beating Swords Into Solar Panels

    A trillion dollars.  It's a lot of money.  In a year it could send 127 million college students to school, provide health insurance for 206 million people, or pay the salaries of seven million schoolteachers and seven million police officers.

    Written on Thursday, 19 September 2013 23:17 Read more...

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Find Your Elected Officials for Issues

Enter your zip+4 and find your elected officials. This link provides name, address and phone number

ButtonFindElectedOfficials

 

Email Your Senators and Representatives - Ask Them to Support Peace Legislation

There is no faster way to send a message to your Congress members than using our Email Advocacy Tool.

  1. Enter your Zip +4
  2. Use our letter or feel free to edit and create your own
  3. Choose an Advocacy Alert and have your letter sent directly to your Congress Member


Advocacy Alerts

Bennis: There is No Military Solution to Syria

Miriam Pemberton - Progressive Central

Building the Peace and Justice Movement

Miriam Pemberton - Swords into Ploughshares