"Phone and the Pen” are Not the Right Tools to Pass Bad Fast Track Legislation

Business Leaders to Senate Republicans: Voters Saying No to TPP
By: United States Business and Industry Council
WASHINGTON - Feb. 7, 2014 - PRLog -- Today, the members of the U.S. Business and Industry Council are calling on the Senate Republican Conference to remove an online video titled “pen and phone” from their web site calling on President Obama to pick up the phone and urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass so-called fast-track trade promotion authority legislation.

“This video is opportunistic and poorly considered, both politically and legally.  It does not reflect what should be core Republican principles: separation of powers and constitutional order,” said US Business and Industry Council president Kevin L. Kearns.

Kearns continued, “Republicans have correctly criticized the president’s threat to act extra-Constitutionally, bypassing Congress with his “pen and phone.”  Now, because some Republican senators are in a hurry to surrender their right to make the Senate’s rules and give up the filibuster to pass an ill-advised fast-track bill, they pull an about-face and encourage the president to use the “pen and phone” approach. Next week they will be howling when he does so on other legislation or regulations they oppose. The Senate Republican conference can’t have it both ways. Either bypassing Congress is acceptable or it isn’t.”

Further, according to a recent national telephone poll (http://www.mmsend2.com/link.cfm?r=18941147&sid=310739...) sponsored in part by the USBIC, voters oppose fast-track authority by more than two to one. That opposition was strongest amongst Republicans with an overwhelming 87% oppose giving fast-track authority to the president.

“Likely voters have picked up the phone and they have strongly rejected giving President Obama the ability to ram through a trade bill that will reward countries that manipulate their currency so they can keep stealing markets and jobs from U.S. manufacturers and their employees,” said Kearns. “Republicans should be focused on helping the small and family-owned businesses that represent the majority of employers instead of multinational corporations that are more focused on adding cheap foreign workers to maximize profits instead of growing America’s economy.”

·         -64% of voters believe TPP will hurt small businesses

·        - 68% of Republicans said they are would be less likely to vote for a Member of Congress who votes to give President Obama fast-track authority

·         -47% of independents said that are less likely to vote to reelect a Member of Congress who supports fast-track authority

“Republican Members of Congress and their political advisors ignore at their peril the massive opposition of Republican and Independent voters to Congressional passage of fast-track trade authority,” said Kearns. “These are the voters who stayed home in the last presidential election. They are gravely concerned about the negative impact the proposed TPP will have on jobs in this anemic recovery. These voters know firsthand what the Republican leadership studiously ignores: Since the U.S. runs persistently high trade deficits under current outmoded trade policies – a cumulative deficit of $10 Trillion in goods since NAFTA – trade displaces many more jobs than it creates, and small businesses and their employees suffer disproportionately.”


The USBIC was founded in 1933 to represent the concerns of America's small and medium-sized business community. Member companies are typically family-owned or privately held, mostly in the manufacturing sector. They are often the major employers in their home communities and the mainstays of the local economy. This membership composition has given the USBIC an outlook on issues more rooted in main street America than other national business groups, which are dominated by giant multinational corporations with global agendas and dwindling national loyalties.

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Source:United States Business and Industry Council
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Page Updated Last on: Feb 07, 2014

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