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Is Republican Support For Fast Track Collapsing?

Note: Below are two articles from Breitbart reporting a very different situation in Congress that is being report in the corporate media that covers Capitol Hill. While Politico and The Hill quote Paul Ryan saying — “we’re close” — (something he has said repeatedly for weeks) and John Boehner — “we’re confident, but not certain” — and then Breitbart, reporting from the perspective of grassroots Republicans in two articles they describe Republican support as collapsing under intensive grassroots pressure. One article describes a wall of phone calls into congressional offices opposing “ObamaTrade”. On Monday night Republican grassroots activists held a twitter storm against TPA that trended nationally as a hot topic. The second Breitbart article says that leadership is not even getting its phone calls returned from Republicans and that Boehner has been unable to point to any new Republican saying that they will support fast track. So, what is the truth the “we’re close but not yet there leadership” or the grassroots saying support is shrinking? At the same time a bi-partisan group of 16 Congress members, five Republicans,  introduced a bill requiring the treaties to be published before fast track can be considered.

– PopRes



By Matthew Boyle, BreitBart

Republican members aren’t buying what President Barack Obama and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) are selling when it comes to Obamatrade, and support for the president’s key trade agenda item is starting to fall apart rapidly amid grassroots pressure.

“I’m voting against Trade Promotion Authority,” Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) told Breitbart News on Tuesday.

I don’t trust President Obama to negotiate in good faith. In November, I signed a letter to President Obama highlighting Congress’ authority to set the terms of trade in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Voting for Trade Promotion “Fast Track” authority would essentially give President Obama a blank check to negotiate trade deals without Congressional input. We’ve seen too many bad deals happen on his watch, and his abuse of executive orders has demonstrated his complete disregard for the law. I don’t want to see it happen one more time.

 Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), through a spokesman, confirmed he’s leaning no on Obamatrade.

 “As of now, Congressman Gosar is leaning no,” Gosar spokesman Steven Smith said in an email. “He has concerns about the consequences of granting the president fast-track authority which would force Congress to vote on his trade agreement without any opportunity to offer amendments.”

Both Gosar and Cook were previously publicly undecided.

Many more Republican members who are publicly undecided are actually planning to vote against the legislation should leadership take it up for a vote, sources in many of their offices tell Breitbart News.

According to a whip list that The Hill newspaper has been keeping since early May—it was last updated on Tuesday shortly after noon—at least 30 Republicans will vote no, (which includes several “lean” no votes). Those include Reps. 

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), Dave Brat (R-VA), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), Rep. Curt Clawson (R-FL), Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), John Duncan (R-TN), Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), David Joyce (R-OH), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT). Add Gosar and Cook to that list and GOP opposition that’s public is now at 32, but The Hill also misses some members who are publicly against it as well.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) told the New York Times he’s against it, and the Times reported in that piece that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is against it as well.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) is against it, as he told Breitbart News before, and again there are several more Republicans who have expressed either serious concerns with the deal or have privately told Breitbart News or other conservative groups who have confirmed those members’ positions in opposition to Obamatrade to Breitbart News.

 The total number of definite Republican no votes on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal—the text of which is currently being kept hidden from the American people—is probably higher than 123, some sources close to the process tell Breitbart News, despite GOP leadership’s public statements that they will pass by voting on it soon — perhaps this week.

One aide who works for a member who isn’t publicly against it yet but is opposed to Obamatrade said that Boehner will probably will probably have to break the so-called Hastert Rule, which informally requires a majority of Republicans — 124, since there are 246 total House Republicans — to support a piece of legislation before it’s called to the House floor for a vote.

If that’s the case, with less than 20 Democrats supportive of the deal publicly, Minority Leader 

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would need to deliver close to or more than 100 Democrat votes to get over the golden 218 marker to pass a bill. That seems, quite frankly, impossible if Republicans are as opposed to this as it seems.

 In fact, the situation is devolving so rapidly out of control for leadership that at a “Whip Briefing” for legislative staffers on Monday, GOP leadership officials wouldn’t even commit that there will ever be a vote to pass Obamatrade—never mind confirm when.

“They basically said we are not committing to a TPA vote at this time and we will let you know if and when we decide to have a vote,” one House GOP aide who was present told Breitbart News. “I think there was more confusion than there was clarity walking out of that meeting. Does that mean not this week? Not ever? Do they really not have the votes to do this? I think everybody in the whole conference, they’re pretty confused about whether they have the votes.”

What leadership is saying behind closed doors is very different from what they’re saying publicly. Boehner and his top allies, Majority Leader 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and freshman class leadership “liaison” Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) —along with chief Obamatrade architect House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) —all publicly claim there’s enough support for it. Boehner ally Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)  even used the weekly GOP address this week to tout Obamatrade, saying Republicans are going to pass it soon through the House. What’s interesting, though, is that pretty much the entire GOP squad pushing Obamatrade has no idea what they are talking about since none of them will say if they’ve been to the secret room inside the Capitol to read the deal they’re touting. Tiberi’s office, McCarthy’s, Ryan’s and Boehner’s, are each refusing to answer if they’ve been to the secret room to read the TPP text that TPA would fast-track through Congress. Sessions’ and Walters’ offices each admitted their bosses hadn’t been to the room to read Obamatrade. Scalise’s office wouldn’t answer yes or no but answered a question that wasn’t asked when pushed on whether he went to the secret room.

Scalise’s office, however, told Breitbart News that a vote could come on Obamatrade this week or next — but nothing is set in stone yet.

“A vote could come as early as this week, possibly next,” Scalise spokesman Chris Bond said in an email.

It remains to be seen what happens next, but it’s clear now that Obamatrade proponents are in trouble. Other sources tell Breitbart News that phone calls from constituents into the Capitol are pouring in, and those calls have members very afraid of the backlash they’d face should they vote for Obamatrade. Leadership might save this thing, but the American people rising up against it with grassroots pressure is making a demonstrable difference. The fight’s nowhere near over yet, but grassroots outsiders are starting to tilt the scales.

Some sources have suggested to Breitbart News that this Obamatrade collapse in the House is very similar to the collapse of amnesty in the House in the last Congress. After

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) –now a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, who’s ironically made Obamatrade a key plank of his presidential campaign in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations even though he didn’t read the TPP text before voting to fast-track it–pushed the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill through the U.S. Senate in early 2013, House Republicans were expected by everyone in Washington to take it up, swallow the poison pill and pass it. Shocking everyone inside the Beltway instead, Republicans in the House rejected it and shut down amnesty for illegal aliens. Just like Obamatrade now, the chief House architect of the amnesty agenda last Congress was  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).




By Matthew Boyle, BreitBart

“Trade deals should be about creating jobs,”

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), an influential Alabamian who serves in a senior position on the House Appropriations Committee, told Breitbart News. “At this point I am skeptical that any trade deal President Obama – or any president – might bring would actually create jobs in Alabama. This will be an agreement that would be in place for years to come.”

While Aderholt’s quote isn’t an express “no,” against Obamatrade, it’s certainly hard to see him voting for it now. That increases the “no” votes and “leaning no” votes on this to nearly 40 members, and the undecided members on Capitol Hill aren’t budging under pressure from Speaker

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) or anyone else pushing Obamatrade. It’s so bad that Boehner and his allies have, some sources have suggested, started targeting undecided House members’ staffers in what one aide told Breitbart News was a “sickening” effort to push Obamatrade through.

Meanwhile, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) —who’s already publicly opposed to Obamatrade—told Breitbart News on Tuesday that the Republican leadership has adopted Democrat talking points on this. In an email, Gohmert said:


Many trusted Republicans parrot the talking points Democrat leaders fashioned that passing TPA will force the administration to finally provide us information before trade agreements are finalized which will then force the President to include Congress in something so important.

That is such a great idea, except – wait, wasn’t it the law that the President had to give us 30 days’ notice before he released anyone from Guantanamo? Isn’t it the current law that the President and his administration must comply with lawful subpoenas from Congress like requesting Fast and Furious documents that have still not been provided?

Gohmert continued by hammering the administration for its various scandals, and questioning why any Republican would trust Obama.

And isn’t it the law that administration officials must come testify before Congress when subpoenaed, not tell them they have no business in asking? – much like the White House principal health policy advisor and top IRS official did to the House Oversight Committee and the U.S. Treasury Department continues to do to the Senate. The list of blatant disregard for the law could continue on; however, I’m afraid it would take up too much room to name all the offenses.

The fact is that this lawless administration is the least transparent ever. Adding one more requirement will mean one more law this administration can ignore. But I really do have to admire the optimism of members of the Congress, who say, ‘But this time, he really, really and truly will comply with giving us notice; this one law will change everything about the lack of transparency.’ I admire the optimism, but cannot close my eyes long enough to be quite that blind.

Aderholt’s decision to come out against Obamatrade is likely to break a logjam and encourage others to come out against it. Others, such as

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), from the Alabama delegation have remained silent for now.

“She hasn’t staked out a position,” Roby spokesman Todd Stacy told Breitbart News last Thursday. “She and staff continue to study the issue and seek input from stakeholders. In general I can tell you that she supports free trade, but it has to be fair trade too. She strongly believes Congress must retain its authority to approve or reject any trade deal.”

Also pressuring Aderholt and other southern representatives is the fact that both of Alabama’s U.S. Senators,

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), voted against it in the Senate.

Right now, spokespeople for Reps. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) and more have confirmed either on record or anonymously their bosses are undecided. Other members’ offices, like that of

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) —who’s likely to face a primary challenge from either state Sen. Chris McDaniel, state Sen. Michael Watson or both—has consistently refused to answer where he stands, but this will make it tougher for him to keep hiding.

Since none of them are budging under leadership pressure, though, one House GOP aide told Breitbart News that Boehner’s allies have been resorting to lobbying members’ staffs to try to get them to support Obamatrade.

“Someone has been going to staffs because ‘undecided members’ aren’t budging,” the aide said in an email. “I’m kinda sickened by it actually!”

It’s quite incredible that Boehner’s team is unable to get their message through to members themselves—and means that essentially the establishment is not even getting their phone calls returned from House Republicans.

“Unfortunately the troops have mobilized to have staff lobby their bosses for TPA even though the member isn’t willing,” the House GOP aide said.

What’s more, in seeming response to losing two more Republicans who now publicly oppose Obamatrade earlier on Tuesday—Reps.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA)—Boehner’s office compiled a list of in some cases weeks old quotes from various other Republicans who support Obamatrade to put out a post on Boehner’s website arguing that support for Obamatrade “grows.”

It pulls together a weeks-old quote from Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) from back in May, a months-old op-ed from House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) from back in April, a several-days-old quote from Condoleezza Rice, and old quotes from Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). It also cites early May quotes from Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and from Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)—neither of whom have been loudly pushing Obamatrade. Since it came out, McClintock supported it without going to the secret room inside the Capitol to read the TPP text. The Boehner post notes that Charles Krauthammer, the National Review editors, Cato Institute officials, and some others support Obamatrade too.


All of those people have supported Obamatrade for quite some time—none of their support is new, or surprising, actually—and Speaker Boehner’s press secretary Matt Wolking hasn’t responded to a Breitbart News press request when asked for at least one fresh conservative voice in support of this measure.


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