Things That Come Back To Bite You

The Republicans, led by former and future House Speakers John “Orange Man” Boehner (R-OH) and Paul “Zombie Eyed Granny Starver” Ryan (R-WI), pushed to fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement because who doesn’t love free trade. Now that the secret negotiations are over and the the full text is now available, the love affair is over.

House Speaker Paul Ryan Demands TPP Be Renegotiated; Neglects To Mention It Was His Bill That Makes That Impossible
Mike Masnick, Techdirt

House Speaker Paul Ryan is apparently none too pleased about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. We’re not very pleased with it either and think large sections of it should be dumped — but for very different reasons than Ryan I imagine. Ryan is saying that there aren’t enough votes in the House to ratify the TPP, while suggesting that the USTR has to go back and renegotiate the deal in an interview he gave on Fox News:

When asked where TPP stands now, Ryan said, “Right now I don’t see the votes there for TPP, because I think the administration negotiated an agreement that has some problems in it, has some flaws in it, and they’re going to have to figure those out and work those out if they want to get the votes to pass it through Congress, which I just don’t see the votes there right now.”

Ryan said TPP is not dead, “but right now they have a lot of work to do. If we brought it to the floor today, it wouldn’t pass.”

And then when the host, Maria Baritoromo challenges him on this, pointing out that if they don’t have the votes now, how will they have the votes later, he raises a bunch of issues (including intellectual property — which probably means he wants those provisions to be even worse and more ridiculous than they are now) and basically says the USTR needs to go back to the negotiating table:

I won’t go into all the details, but cross-border data flows, dairy, there are biologics, intellectual property rights protections. I can go into all the details if you’d like, but the point I’m trying to make is I don’t see the votes for this agreement now. That’s why I think they need to go back and work on this agreement.

Go back and work on this agreement? Oh really? Now, this is the same Paul Ryan who (as he mentions in the interview) was the driving force behind the so-called fast track or “Trade Promotion Authority.” Though Ryan totally misrepresents what that means. He claims that the TPA gave the USTR “the ability to go negotiate trade agreements.” That’s hilariously not true. After all, the USTR has been negotiating the TPP for more than half a decade at this point, and only got Trade Promotion Authority in June. All Trade Promotion Authority REALLY does is ties Congress’s hands so that it can no longer ask the USTR to go back and renegotiate sections, because the whole point of the TPA is that it limits Congressional authority to a simple yes or no vote — rather than allowing it to actually debate and challenge specific aspects of the agreement. [..]

So now it seems particularly ridiculous for Speaker Ryan, of all people, to be claiming that we need to go back and renegotiate the deal. We can’t do that — and the reason we can’t do that is because of Ryan’s own Trade Promotion Authority effort, which he insisted was necessary so that the final deal would reflect the wishes of Congress.