No on "Fast Track" vote 12/06/01

December 5, 2001

The House is scheduled to debate and vote on "fast track" trade-negotiating
authority (H.R. 3005-Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001)
tomorrow evening.  We urge a "NO" vote on "fast track."

To urge your U.S. representative to vote "NO" on "fast track," please go to

What's wrong with giving President Bush "fast track" trade-negotiating
authority?  It was a bad idea for Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress
did not extend his "fast-track" authority beyond 1994 when it expired -- and
it's still a bad idea because it puts political privilege and payoffs above
principle...that's "politics as usual" for Washington.

1.  It puts any administration in a "do or die" situation where it is
forbidden from negotiating with Congress over the true merits of trade
legislation, because under "fast track" the legislation is not amendable.

2.  That means, rather than discuss the merits, the administration uses
behind-closed-doors deals -- it is forced to play "pork-barrel project Let's
Make a Deal" and buy the votes of recalcitrant members.  If a member thinks
a trade bill under "fast track" is bad for America -- no problem, the
administration can offer him or her a big-dollar pet project in their home
district as an inducement to vote "yes" anyway.  That means $100 million for
a new airport -- $50 million tax dollars for a research project -- $75
million for a port facility and so can add up to billions (it
usually does) to get members to vote for bad trade legislation because they
have been bought-off with a special project they wouldn't get otherwise.

3.  There will come a time when the administration desperately wishes to
improve trade relations with a particular country, but does not have the
votes and is prevented by "fast track" from compromising on the trade
legislation as it is proposed because under "fast track," legislation is
not amendable.

4.  Congressional accessions to largely Clinton-backed trade deals have been
somewhere between unsatisfactory and disastrous.  True, China did improve
its human rights record as a concession to get trade...but it channeled our
technology to rogue nations supporting terrorist movements.

5.  Congress can always consider trade agreements on whatever terms it
chooses.  That means it already can, if it wishes, prevent any or all
amendments and limit or eliminate altogether debate -- and that's what "fast
track" does "in a nutshell."

6.  It is a mistake for Congress to blindly give up its constitutional
prerogative on trade -- gratuitously emasculating itself of its
constitutionally mandated duty with regard to trade when the future is
unforeseen and filled with unforeseeable choices.

To urge your U.S. representative to vote "NO" on "fast track," please go to

To read a statement by Congressman Ron Paul to the House International
Relations Committee explaining his opposition to "fast track," please go to  (PDF file format)
His statement starts on page 36.


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