- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
EDITORIAL: Reviving free-trade agreements would revive the economy
Should Congress trust Obama with Trade Promotion Authority?
Question of the Day
America’s economic engine needs a jump start. Everyone agrees on that much. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that U.S. production shrank 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014, while corporate profits tumbled 9 percent from last year’s numbers. One way out of this would be to give President Obama more power.
That sounds to most ears like a terrible idea. This president has assumed far more authority than he’s entitled to, at the expense of Congress and the Constitution, neither of which he holds in high regard. But there is one area in which Congress should consider boosting the power of the executive, by enacting a version of Trade Promotion Authority.
From Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, presidents have enjoyed the authority to fast-track trade agreements. The basic idea is that the president can pursue trade negotiations while faithfully keeping Congress in the loop. Once a deal is struck, Congress must, within a certain time, vote for or against the trade pact, without amendments. The law establishing this expedited framework expired in 2007. Congress should make it crystal clear to Mr. Obama that he does not get to make up changes to suit himself.
Renewing this authority would direct the attention of policymakers to places where they ought to be looking for growth: overseas. More than 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power, 92 percent of its economic growth and 95 percent of the consumers live outside the United States. Encouraging free-trade deals helps American businesses — and their employees — to thrive by allowing importation of certain raw materials, basic components and machinery that could be used to lower production costs of American goods. That helps competitiveness.
The only free-trade deals enacted by this administration were deals negotiated under President George W. Bush. More agreements are needed to cut through foreign barriers to U.S. goods and services. Without streamlined procedures, no trade deals would likely make it through Congress, and 40 million Americans, whose jobs depend on exports and imports, are getting short shrift.
Preliminary work on free-trade deals has already been done with the European Union, Taiwan, New Zealand and other allies. This is one area (and maybe the only one) that Congress might with confidence entrust the president with a bit more authority. The alternative is ever-more-grim accounts of a sputtering economy.
About the Author
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reject any legislation dubbed 'comprehensive'
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Media are complicit in Hamas' tactics
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gazans should help defeat Hamas
- EDITORIAL: The impeachment trap
- EDITORIAL: Illegal aliens in the shadows? What shadows?
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Get Breaking Alerts
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- New York Times reporter Carol Vogel accused of plagiarism
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- ISIL destroys key bridge leading to Baghdad; suicide truck bomb severed supply line