Fast Track: What it is and why we must stop it...NOW!

When Congress returns from recess in September, President Obama will ask it to outsource its Constitutional responsibilities and grant him unprecedented powers to sign so-called "trade" agreements with foreign countries without consulting Congress.  The White House will be able to tell Congress what it must vote on - without amendments - and even when.  It's called "Fast Track" trade promoiton authority, and it must be derailed.

President Obama is planning to ask Congress in September to surrender its constitutional authority and grant him “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority so he can announce this victory at the ASEAN summit of Southeast Asian nations.

Article I-8 of the Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to set the terms of trade. Meanwhile, the executive branch has constitutional authority to negotiate with foreign sovereigns on behalf of our nation.  The Founders established this clear check and balance to prevent the president from unilaterally negotiating with foreign nations and imposing trade policies that Congress would deem to be against the national interest. 

However, recent presidents have seized Congress’ constitutional authority and also “diplomatically legislated” on numerous other matters under Congress’ jurisdiction using a procedure commonly known as “Fast Track”, or “Trade Promotion Authority.”

Under Fast Track, the executive branch is empowered to sign trade agreements before Congress has an opportunity to vote on them, and then unilaterally write legislation making the pacts’ terms U.S. federal law. 

Fast Track allows the president to send these executive branch-authored bills directly to the floor for a vote under rules forbidding all floor amendments and limiting debate

Fast Track takes the floor schedule out of the hands of the House majority and gives it to the president by requiring the House to vote on the bill within a preset period of time.

Troubling revelations about widening government surveillance of the American people, abuse of executive powers, the militarization of domestic policing and other scandals demonstrate that the executive branch, whether controlled by one party or the other, has shown contempt for the constitutionally mandated co-equal role of the Congress.    

Given these factors, Congress should not cede its constitutional authority to the executive through an approval of a request for “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.”

The last time "Fast Track" reared it's head, then-Rep. Ron Paul spoke eloquently about the dangers it poses to our Constitutional government. Read what he said on the floor of the House here. Watch his interview in the video below.

Call your representative in the House of Representatives today and ask him or her to oppose Fast Track.

Please let us know what your representative tells you.