Citing corruption, “backroom deal-making,” and leaks that show the Obama administration is violating its assurances not to include immigration in its trade agreements, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas; shown on left) reversed his earlier support for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and voted Tuesday against the cloture measure to end debate on Fast Track authority for the president. Even with Cruz’s defection, however, President Obama and his Republican allies in the Senate succeeded in getting the 60-vote super-majority they needed to cut off debate. The 60-37 vote sets up a vote on TPA itself, which is scheduled for Wednesday. If it passes then, it will go to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. Although most commentators are viewing TPA passage now as a done deal, it is still possible that it could be derailed again, as recent history has shown the battles over these pseudo-“free trade” pacts are full of surprises.
In an op-ed published on Brietbart.com today, Senator Cruz explained why he has switched from pro to anti on TPA. “The American people do not trust President Obama. And they do not trust Republican leadership in Congress,” Cruz wrote. “And the reason is simple: for far too long, politicians in Washington have not told the truth.”
As a general matter, Cruz said, he supports free trade. “But TPA in this Congress has become enmeshed in corrupt Washington backroom deal-making, along with serious concerns that it would open up the potential for sweeping changes in our laws that trade agreements typically do not include,” the Texas senator noted.
Since his earlier pro-TPA vote on May 22, Cruz says, two troubling material changes have come to light. The first was the revelation by WikiLeaks regarding the secret Trade in Services Agreement, or TiSA, which President Obama is attempting to use to open the immigration floodgates.
Another straw that broke the camel’s back for Cruz was the deal-making by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), promising a corporate welfare plum to Democrats and Republicans alike, in the form of billions of dollars for the U.S. Export-Import Bank.