Tag Archives: Senator Sessions

What’s The Hurry? Senator Sessions On Ryan’s Pelosi-Style “Shove it Down America’s Throat” Spending Bill – Slow Down

Posted on October 31, 2015 by Rick Wells

SESSIONS

It was entirely predictable that the last act of Speaker John Boehner and the first act of Speaker Paul Ryan would be a seamless continuation of the assault on the American people; that‘s what Congress does these days. It’s also no surprise that the assault included a capitulation to the wishes of the anti-American tyrant in the White House, for the same reasons.

The power of the purse is being discarded for the remainder of the Hussein Obama nightmare, as is any pretense of financial responsibility in a deal which Senator Jeff Sessions has discovered looks remarkably similar to one co-authored by Paul Ryan back in 2013. The wolves aren’t just guarding the hen house, they’ve taken it over. It’s a complete abdication of responsibility and duty to their constituents, one which Sessions reminds his Congressional counterparts there is no need to rush to complete. He reminds them of their duty, something they seem to have forgotten, to the people of the nation. On Tuesday Sessions wrote:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement after outgoing speaker John Boehner and President Obama unveiled a two-year deal to suspend the debt limit, waive federal spending caps and raid workers’ payments into their Social Security Trust Fund:

“Once again, a massive deal, crafted in secret, unveiled at the 11th hour, is being rushed through Congress under threat of panic. Once again, we have waited until an artificial deadline to force through that which our voters oppose.

At its core, this deal with President Obama does two things: First, it lifts federal spending caps for the next two years – including a $40 billion increase in spending on the federal bureaucracy. Second, it waives the federal debt limit through March of 2017, allowing for approximately $1.5 trillion to be added to the debt – ensuring no further conversation about our debt course or any corresponding action to alter it.

It appears this deal is built on the same principles as the Ryan-Murray budget deal from 2013. It exchanges instant increases in federal spending for distant savings, as much two decades down the road, that are likely to never materialize. It funds increased spending through increased revenues – violating a core budget principle by collecting more money to expand an already too-large federal bureaucracy. And it trades the termination of today’s spending limits for the promise of new spending limits ten years from now.

The spending caps in law today were pledged as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act agreement to lift the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. It represented a bipartisan commitment to cap spending at a fixed amount. This deal shatters that commitment by spending $80 billion more than we promised over the next 2 years.

The deal also uses a common gimmick where alleged savings in an entitlement program are used to boost unrelated spending in the federal bureaucracy. Any savings found to entitlement programs faced with insolvency must be used to shore up those programs – not to surge spending somewhere else. Yet this deal claims illusory savings from Disability Insurance and increased pension insurance fees in order to boost bureaucratic budgets. Perhaps even worse, the deal attempts to stave off the shortfall in fraud-ridden Social Security Disability by plundering from the Social Security Trust Fund for retirees. One hundred and fifty billion dollars in funds will be siphoned from Americans’ payroll retirement contributions and redirected to the mismanaged disability program.

Finally, this deal cements the unacceptable precedent that every dollar of increased defense spending should be matched with a dollar of increased non-defense spending. This is upside-down: if an emergency requires more defense spending, common sense says we should seek to identify reductions, not hikes, to spending in non-defense accounts.

The people want an end to wasteful Washington spending. Lifting the budget caps and raising the debt ceiling through 2017 only ensures that our ineffective bureaucracy continues its wasteful ways while momentum in Washington for debt reduction stalls out. It eliminates a powerful opportunity to advance the case for financial discipline.

The deadline is artificial and can easily be pushed back with a short-term measure if needed. Republicans should insist that any vote on spending caps or the debt ceiling be delayed until the House has chosen a new Speaker – and until there has been a full conversation among our conference and, most importantly, our voters. There is no urgency to pass a 2-year deal. GOP voters are entitled to have their representatives represent them – not act as opposing counsel, urging them to capitulate to the President’s demands. Whether it’s spending, debt, crime, immigration or trade, it is time for us to start fighting for what our voters want – instead of demeaning their just concerns about the future of our country.”

Sessions: They Won the Vote, But Lost the 'Trust of the American People'

By Daniel Halper for THE WEEKLY STANDARD
Senator Jeff Sessions will release this statement in response to Senate’s vote to advance the fast-track trade bill:

Jeff Sessions

“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 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.
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.
“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.
“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?”
 

Sessions: They Won the Vote, But Lost the ‘Trust of the American People’

By Daniel Halper for THE WEEKLY STANDARD

Senator Jeff Sessions will release this statement in response to Senate’s vote to advance the fast-track trade bill:

Jeff Sessions

“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 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.

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.

“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.

“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?”

 

Senator Reads the TPP and Exposes Its Contents; Other Elected Officials Should Do the Same

By Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance | Op-Ed, REPOSTED FROM TRUTHOUT

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is one of the few members of Congress who has taken the time to jump through the hoops and read the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But, he has gone a step farther than other members – he told members of Congress what he read. He told the truth about what the TPP says and why Congress should oppose it in a five page letter to his colleagues.

Sessions’ action flies in the face of the threats made by the US Trade Representative to prosecute elected officials who tell people what is in the trade agreement. Others should follow his example and get out the truth about the TPP.

The debate in the Senate begins on Tuesday, May 19. This is an opportunity for Senators to tell their colleagues the truth about what is in the TPP. Sessions’ “Dear Colleague” letter was leaked and reported in Breitbart. Senators from both parties may want to take a similar approach. Even better, during the debate on the Senate floor there will be an opportunity for amendments that expose problems with the TPP. Senators can tell their colleagues and, through C-SPAN, their constituents the truth about what is in the TPP.

How Senator Sessions Exposed the Truth About TPP

Breitbart has written two articles on Sessions’ revelations. In “Critical Alert: Jeff Sessions Warns America Against Potentially Disastrous Obama Trade Deal,” they report:

“‘Congress has the responsibility to ensure that any international trade agreement entered into by the United States must serve the national interest, not merely the interests of those crafting the proposal in secret,’ Sessions’ team writes in a document that lays out the top five concerns with the Obama trade deal. ‘It must improve the quality of life, the earnings, and the per-capita wealth of everyday working Americans. The sustained long-term loss of middle class jobs and incomes should compel all lawmakers to apply added scrutiny to a ‘fast-track’ procedure wherein Congress would yield its legislative powers and allow the White House to implement one of largest global financial agreements in our history – comprising at least 12 nations and nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP.’ . . .

“The Sessions document then goes point-by-point for five full pages through the TPA trade deal, laying out why it wouldn’t help Americans – rather, it would likely hurt American workers – and why the deal doesn’t in fact provide Congress with more power over trade despite talking points from the Obama trade deal’s proponents . . .”

The second article in Breitbart, “Only Two Republicans Admit They Have Actually Read Secret Obama Trade Deal – Both Unsupportive” reports on a survey they did of Senate Republicans where they asked three questions: (1) Have you read the TPP, specifically the ‘living agreement’ in the trade deal that allows the deal to be changed and countries added without congressional review? (2) Does the Senator agree with Sen. Sessions’ call to make the TPP available to the public? And, (3) Will the Senator vote for fast track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) if the TPP hasn’t been stripped of the ‘living agreement’ section that would allow countries to amend the deal without Congressional approval, and to even add countries (like China, if they wanted to) to the deal without Congressional approval?

Breitbart reports that one additional Senator, James Lankford (R-OK) was scheduled to read the TPP on Friday, May 16. Interestingly, the Oklahoma legislature recently passed a resolution urging their federal representatives to vote against fast track trade authority.

While the US Trade Representative has threatened members of Congress with criminal prosecution for telling others what is in the TPP, they have made no threat to Senator Sessions. No doubt if they did so, fast track and the TPP would be dead because the years of work by the Obama administration to move this forward in secret would be over, and as the first trade representative in the Obama administration, Ambassador Ron Kirk, told the media “if the American people knew what was in this agreement it would never become law.”

The Truth About Trade Is Needed Right Now

We are in the critical phase of debate about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other rigged corporate trade agreements. While Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) has promised to publish all bills before they are voted on, he has not even read the TPP and definitely has not required it be made public. While the fast track bill can be read, the TPP is different; elected officials have limited access to it and they are not allowed to discuss what they read. So, the Congress is tying its hands on the TPP and other deals, without knowing what is in them and thereby shirking their constitutional responsibility under the Commerce Clause which directs Congress “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.”

Now, it becomes even more important because President Obama has repeatedly chided members of Congress for being inaccurate about what is in the TPP, even comparing Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to Sarah Palin talking about death panels. He makes the claim that Congress does not know what it is talking about while keeping the agreement secret and difficult for elected officials and their staff to read. On top of that Obama and his administration consistently put out false and misleading statements about the agreement. One wonders, and I hope the media begins to ask him, whether President Obama has read the agreement? As Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said in response: “We know exactly what we’re talking about. My concern is that he does not understand what’s in it.”

Obama criticized Warren for claiming that the TPP would undermine federal regulation of banks. If the language of the TPP were released we could see if he is accurate. But, after their argument on this issue, Canadian Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, bolstered Warren’s position by claiming that banking regulation that requires banks to invest with only their own money violates NAFTA.

The president has claimed that his deals are the most progressive trade agreements ever and fix the problems of NAFTA “by making labor and environmental provisions actually enforceable.” Yet, a leak of the environmental chapter actually shows the opposite – there is no environmental enforcement and the protections are weaker than agreements during the George W. Bush era.

The president also makes the claim that “no trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.” This is an outrageous claim because all previous trade agreements have required the US to harmonize its laws with the agreement. How can they not? The TPP, according to leaks, changes laws around patents and trademarks. How can the TPP say one thing about intellectual property and US law say another? They must be harmonized. Elected officials who have read the text can explain differences between US law and the TPP – what laws will have to change? For example will popular laws favoring buying American products survive the TPP? The Finance Committee refused to approve an amendment that would protect Buy America.

Certainly President Obama knows that his Organizing For America is being completely misleading when in an email: “argued that the term ‘fast track’ for TPA was a misnomer because TPA would have to go through Congress like any other bill.” OFA and Obama know the debate is not whether fast track has to go through Congress in the normal fashion but whether trade agreements will be fast tracked. Why would the president and OFA be so obviously misleading? Are they desperate?

Ralph Nader has suggested that President Obama debate Senator Warren on the TPP. This would be one way to get to the truth, hear both sides debate in public so we can all decide for ourselves whether this is an agreement that should be fast tracked through Congress outside of the traditional congressional process. But a president that has worked for his entire tenure in office to keep the TPP and other rigged agreements out of the public dialogue will certainly not take up this suggestion.

Congress Is in Position to Expose the TPP

Now, at this key moment in the debate, members of Congress who have taken the time to view the TPP are in a position to get out the truth.

The debate in the Senate with its open amendment process is an opportunity to tell the truth about all the issues in the TPP so there can finally be a public debate about trade agreements that will impact every aspect of our lives.

In the House, Republicans should be sharing the comments of Senator Sessions for a solid Republican critique of fast track for the TPP and other agreements. Democrats should be highlighting key senate amendments to their caucus to highlight shortcomings. And those who have read the TPP should share what they learned in order to strengthen opposition to fast track in the face of what will be a massive Obama effort to change their minds.

Those who oppose the TPP have the tools needed to win this debate, stop fast track and stop the TPP and other rigged agreements. If we succeed, we will have the opportunity to rethink global trade in light of two decades of experience with a failed model. It will be an opportunity to develop trade so that it protects the planet and raises the standard of living for people around the world. To achieve that opportunity, the first task is to expose the truth of what is before us.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.