Trade Promotion Authority, otherwise known as TPA allows the executive branch of the United States to negotiate trade agreements without congressional interference.
TPA is also known as “fast track” authority. The more friendly moniker truthfully labels this power as a way to make trade deals quicker. Unfortunately, they may also be made without due consideration of the consequences to American workers.
In truth, TPA allows the President to negotiate trade deals which Congress can then only vote up or down – no amendments. Without debate, the President can rush through whatever he thinks is prudent and Congress – and Americans – have to swallow the thing whole or abandon the agreement all together. Prior to the agreement being finalized, no one knows what’s in it. Should Congress have to pass legislation just to learn what’s in it?
A more deliberative approach would be to allow Congress to be party to the details of the negotiations, debate the bullet points and offer suggestions to improve the trade deal in America’s interest.