Cruz lied in Thursday’s debate about his previous support for TPP

The following exchange took place during Thursday’s Republican debate in Florida:

TAPPER: Senator Cruz, you were a supporter of the Pacific trade deal, but after taking some heat from conservatives, you changed your position. Why should these voters who don’t like these trade deals trust that you will fight for them all the time and not just in election years?

CRUZ: Actually that’s incorrect. There are two different agreements. There’s TPA and TPP. I opposed TPP and have always opposed TPP, which is what you asked about.…

Senator Ted Cruz’s statement that he “always opposed TPP” is incorrect.  He and Representative Paul Ryan co-authored an April 21, 2015 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (Putting Congress in Charge on Trade) in which they both supported fast-tracking TPP (the Trans Pacific Partnership).  Cruz was also incorrect when he implied that TPA is separate from TPP.  TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) was the “fast-track” bill that gave up Congress’s right to amend or filibuster TPP and which reduced the number of votes required to pass TPP from two thirds of the Senate to a simple majority in each chamber.

Furthermore, Cruz’s op-ed with Representative Paul Ryan was itself deceptive, as my co-authors and I noted at the time here in American Thinker:

Supporters of fast track are selling it with the same lies that were used to sell previous bad deals.  In an April 22 commentary, Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Ted Cruz claimed that Fast Track would produce jobs by reducing America’s huge trade deficits.  They are wrong, as the history of previous trade agreements shows.  They wrote:

The American worker can compete with anybody, if given a fair chance.  If you add up all 20 countries that the U.S. has a trade agreement with, American manufacturers run a $50 billion trade surplus with them.  The problem is that not all countries have a trade agreement with the U.S.: American manufacturers run a $500 billion trade deficit with those nations.

Their $50-billion surplus number is deeply deceptive.   It involves selecting some goods exports and imports while excluding others.  A complete measure of the balance of trade for all goods indicates that the U.S. ran a deficit of 61.7 billion dollars in 2014 with our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners.

Even worse, our trade deficits with the FTA partners got worse after the free trade agreements were negotiated.  In the year prior to implementation of each FTA, our average deficit with each FTA partner was less than $0.8 billion.  By 2014, our average deficit with each FTA partner was over $3 billion. 

Cruz did eventually vote against TPA, but his op-ed with Paul Ryan had already done the damage.  It helped Ryan ram TPA through the House Ways and Means Committee, and it encouraged fellow senators to vote for it, thinking that they had their right flank covered.

Senator Cruz made a mistake when he co-authored the op-ed with Ryan.  The text of that op-ed suggests he was suckered by a misleading study.  On Thursday, instead of saying that he had made a mistake, he compounded his mistake by pretending that it never happened.

The Richmans 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.