President Barack Obama is seeking fast track approval from Congress to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership. If Congress grants the president fast track authority, the 12-country trade deal can be approved with a simple up or down vote, and there are no amendments or filibusters. This issue has some Republicans siding with Obama, while Democrats are largely against it.
Republican Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma spoke with KGOU’s Jacob McCleland about the TPP, the possibility of ending the 40 year old crude oil export ban and more.
On fast track approval of Trans Pacific Partnership
“I am in favor of the fast track approval. I think you wait on the deal to see what is actually negotiated. Every other president has had this kind of authority when they’ve negotiated. The president himself effectively had it in the four earlier trade deals he did with South Korea, Colombia, Panama, I think Costa Rica. I don’t see how in the world you can negotiate between 12 countries something as complex as a trade deal and expect 435 members of the House and 100 Senators of the Senate to weigh in with their individual concerns.”
On why he thinks fast track approval will come up for a vote
“I don’t think the votes are there today for it to pass. I think they probably will be. But this is very much dependent on what the Democrats do. It’s not as if every Republican will be for this. There are historic pockets of Republican votes that are worried about this. If you come from the old textile state of North Carolina, which is a heavily Republican delegation, they’ve got a major concern although that’s not really their main business anymore. There will be different groups, and there will be some that frankly don’t trust the president.”
On the possibility of ending the crude oil export ban
“Things that encourage the use of American resources are probably to be encouraged. If you think that by closing off the domestic market and keeping American prices low, you’re going to continue to have the production we’ve had, you’re not. Most of the things that have brought oil prices down have been because America has been the one country in the world that has dramatically increased its production in the last five years from about five to nine million barrels a day. That’s a big deal. Every American driver is benefitting. I think the same thing would happen globally.”