By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) issued a written statement after the Senate voted to advance six-year fast-track executive authority on a 60 to 37 vote.
Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby were in the position of opposing legislation that the GOP Senate leadership strongly supported. On Wednesday, the overwhelming majority of Republican Senators managed to find just enough Democrats to join with them to cloture the filibuster.
Only five Republicans voted against.
Senator Sessions said afterwards, “Washington broke arms and heads to get that 60th vote—not one to spare—to impose on the American people a plan which imperils their jobs, wages, and control over their own affairs. It is remarkable that so much energy has been expended on advancing the things Americans oppose, and preventing the things Americans want.”
Sen. Sessions said, “Americans increasingly believe that their country isn’t serving its own citizens. They need look no further than a bipartisan vote of Congress that will transfer congressional power to the Executive Branch and, in turn, to a transnational Pacific Union and the global interests who will help write its rules. The same routine plays out over and again. We are told a massive bill must be passed, all the business lobbyists and leaders tell us how grand it will be, but that it must be rushed through before the voters spoil the plan. As with Obamacare and the Gang of Eight, the politicians meet with the consultants to craft the talking points—not based on what the bill actually does, but what they hope people will believe it does. And when ordinary Americans who never asked for the plan, who don’t want the plan, who want no part of the plan, resist, they are scorned, mocked, and heaped with condescension.”
Sen. Sessions continued, “For instance: thousands of loyal Americans have been laid off and forced to train the foreign workers brought in to fill their jobs—at Disney, at Southern California Edison, across the country. Does Washington rush to their defense? No, the politicians and the lobbyists rush to move legislation that would double or triple the very program responsible for replacing them.” “This ‘econometarian’ ideology holds that if a company can increase its bottom line —whether by insourcing foreign workers or outsourcing production—then it’s always a win, never a downside.”
Sen. Sessions warned, “President Obama, and allies in Congress, have won this fast-track vote. But, in exchange, they may find that they are losing something far greater: the trust of the American people. Americans have a fundamental, decent, and just demand: that the people they elect defend their interests. And every issue to come before us in the coming months will have to pass this test: does this strengthen, or weaken, the position of the everyday, loyal American citizen?”
The US Chamber of Commerce supports the trade deal and issued a statement in which they claim there are three “hard truths” legislators must understand: 1) “We can’t stop the competition American workers face from low-wage countries — because it’s already here.” 2) “We can’t stop the tide of international commerce from rising. The introduction of container shipping half a century ago has reduced the cost of trade dramatically and led to a nine-fold increase in world commerce. World container-fleet capacity has nearly doubled since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.” 3) “We can’t stop other nations from forging new trade pacts — including agreements that exclude the United States and put American workers at a disadvantage.”
Singaporean Foreign Minister, K. Shanmugam told the Center for Strategic and International Studies last week, “The world doesn’t wait, not even for the United States.” Without engagement on trade, he continued, “your only lever to shape the architecture, to influence events, is the Seventh Fleet — and that’s not the lever you want to use.”
Singapore is one of the eleven nations the United States is negotiating with on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) serves on four Senate committees: Armed Services, Budget, Environment and Public Works, and Judiciary, where he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.