It is claimed that Republicans in the Senate are attempting to fast track a trade deal through Congress that could include contentious immigration procedures. Yesterday the Senate Finance Committee staged what is being described by Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government, as an unannounced and unscheduled “secret” hearing to talk about whether to give President Obama fast track trade authority.
Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative, claimed in the meeting that the TransPacific Partnership would not increase immigration levels. This is something Manning says is patently untrue, given that the website of the US Trade Representative clearly displays details regarding expedited entries for workers from overseas countries who have temporary entry US visas. The hearing was held yesterday morning, with the committee’s press office claiming it was announced the day before.
Manning claims that the TransPacific Partnership is just another way to smuggle immigration reform into law without going through Congress. “This is just one more reason for Congress to reject fast track legislation and subject this treaty to the full weight of Senate scrutiny as prescribed in the US Constitution,” he explained. Manning is not the only person to have expressed concerns, with his fears echoed by American Jobs Alliance executive director Curtis Ellis. Ellis claims that the fast-tracking means Congress will have just 20 hours to try to get to grips with the very complex language used in the legislation and says this is another example of the president bypassing Congress to enact his immigration agenda.