Trade Agreement Bill on Fast-Track-Union Payoffs/More Debt Included
Whenever we hear that the White House has reached a "deal" with the House GOP in the passage of legislation today, warning bells and nuclear sirens start wailing immediately for those of us who have seen and understood the pattern of just how these recent "deals" have turned out bad for the American people. Today the sirens started blaring again when the following headlines came out: White House submits trade pacts after deal with House GOP, from TheHill.com. The trade agreements include Panama, South Korea and Colombia. This deal now includes gifts for Unions via the Dept. of Labor’s innocuous-sounding TAA. ( Trade Adjustment Assistance.) These trade agreements have been sitting on Barack Obama’s desk since 2009 when the G.W. Bush administration finalized them. Why the long delay in sending them to Congress for debate and passage? If we look at the orginally linked article above, we see that just last week big labor Unions vehemently opposed these trade agreements:
"The deal sets up a bruising fight within the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate, which are divided over trade. Most of organized labor opposes all three trade deals, which were negotiated by the Bush administration and have been dormant for years." (emphasis mine)
Why would Unions oppose trade agreements that would help our economy and create jobs? Because they were angling for more Obama-gifts would be the only plausible answer for that question. Most business groups wanted them passed years ago. With the announcement of this "deal", Speaker Boehner stated: “While the delay was unacceptably long and likely cost jobs, I am pleased the Obama administration has finally done its part and sent these important trade pacts to Congress,” Now Barack Obama is saying that he wants Congress to hurry, hurry pass all four of these bills before before the South Korean leader visits the White House on Oct. 13th. Here we go again with the Nancy Pelosi-style" We must pass the bill to see what’s in it" routine, just like she stated during the health-care debate. These trade agreements have sat there for three years and now Obama and company want them passed 10 days from now? That means no amendments:
The House Rules Committee on Monday night approved a closed rule for the consideration of TAA that allows for an hour of debate and no amendments. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House intends to debate and pass the measures next week.
Why aren’t we hearing the Unions denouncing these trade agreements today? Simply because of the TAA part of all four agreements that will benefit mainly Unions. This comes to us form the Dept. of Labor’s TAA home page:
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) help trade-affected workers who have lost their jobs as a result of increased imports or shifts in production out of the United States. Certified individuals may be eligible to receive one or more program benefits and services depending on what is needed to return them to employment. (sounds good enough there)
First of all this TAA program is run by Obama appointee Hilda Solis‘ dept of labor–They will be saying who gets these benefits. Apparently if you do not belong to a GROUP, ( think union) don’t bother filing for any of these benefits, as we see next:
To obtain TAA or ATAA services and benefits, a group of workers must first file a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA) requesting certification as workers adversely affected by foreign trade. If certified, each worker in the group may then apply separately for individual services and benefits through their local One-Stop Career Center. ( emphasis mine)
This points to as to why unions are all of a sudden happy with these trade agreements. Hilda Solis is in charge of dishing out these "benefits." Her main agenda of 2010 was stated as to enact some 90 new rules and regulations to give more power to unions. Now Solis and her dept of labor can also hand out plenty of cash to her beloved Unions thanks to the TAA payouts stuffed into the trade agreements. Did I mention that her father was a teamsters shop steward in Mexico? No conflict of interest there, when she was appointed to head the Dept of Labor, especially seeing that she was a board member of the pro-union American Rights at Work.
How much actual cash will our government be borrowing to hand out in the TAA provisions of these trade agreements? That appears to be another big secret, as that information is not available at the time of this article. With Barack Obama calling for these trade agreements to be passed right away, just like with his American Jobs Act, once again the working people paying for these ‘deals" will juts have to wait until they pass the bills to actually see what’s in this latest batch soon to come out of Congress. It also looks like the House leadership is on board with this new deal. A few more interesting TAA benefits from their website:
Up to 130 weeks of cash payments for workers enrolled in full-time training Up to 156 weeks of cash payments if the worker is also enrolled in remedial or prerequisite training.
Job Search Allowances 100% of allowable costs, up to $1,500
Job Search Allowances 90% of allowable costs, up to $ 1,250
Relocation Allowances 100% of allowable costs Provides an additional lump sum payment of up to $1,500
How many groups (Unions) of people will be covered under the new trade agreements and how much will it cost the U.S. taxpayers?
The last aspect of these trade aspects that raises some questions as to their viability in increasing our exports and helping our economy, is this tidbit:
Legislation for the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement also includes a renewal of the Andean Trade Preferences Act. That legislation, which reduced duties on products from Andean countries, was enacted in December 1991 to help Andean countries in their fight against drug production and trafficking by expanding their economic alternatives.
Expanding Andean economic alternatives and reducing duties on their products is now supposed to be good for America’s economy? Boy is this country in big trouble.