This amendment could preserve U.S. sovereignty from Fast Track

This week, the U.S. Senate will be considering up to 100 amendments to the Fast Track bill, which is expected to pass the Senate on Friday.  Senator Elizabeth Warren and twelve other Democratic senators are sponsoring what could be the key amendment (pdf) for preserving U.S. sovereignty.

Here is the text:

At the end of section 106(b), add the following:

(7) FOR AGREEMENTS THAT THREATEN UNITED STATES SOVEREIGNTY.—The trade authorities procedures shall not apply to an implementing bill submitted with respect to a trade agreement or trade agreements entered into under section 103(b) if such agreement or agreements, the implementing bill, or any statement of administrative action described in subsection (a)(1)(E)(ii) proposed to implement such agreement or agreements, includes investor-state dispute settlement.

At issue are the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in Obama-type trade agreements.  If any existing U.S. law or regulation violates the agreement, foreign businesses can sue the U.S. government for monetary damages.  Through billion-dollar fines, the dispute arbitrators can force Congress to change any U.S. law that differs from the trade pact. 

Like Senator Warren, Republican senator Jeff Sessions wants to preserve U.S. sovereignty.  On May 12 he issued a Critical Alert in which he wrote:

[A]s the Congressional Research Service explains, the fast-tracked deal “would supersede existing U.S. law” and result in the U.S. being “bound by international law,” arbitrated by a global tribunal. 

Like Sessions and Warren, Republican Senator Ted Cruz wants to preserve American sovereignty, at least as far as immigration is concerned.  He is proposing an amendment to Fast Track that states that nothing in the act “shall alter or affect any law, regulation, or policy relating to immigration.”

Fast Track is creating some curious alliances.  Republican senators McConnell and Hatch joined President Obama to push Fast Track.  Now liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans might work together to preserve American sovereignty.

Howard Richman with his father and son co-authored the 2014 book Balanced Trade: Ending the Unbearable Costs of America’s Trade Deficits, published by Lexington Books, and the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future, published by Ideal Taxes Association.