Obama Fans’ Chant At Congressional Baseball Game Will Send Chills Down Your Spine

At the 54th annual Congressional Baseball Game Thursday in Washington, D.C., President Obama made a surprise visit and was warmly received by Democrats sitting in the stands.

The president came to make a last chance pitch for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The Associated Press explains the atmosphere in the stands during the president’s visit as he was chatting up members of Congress:

Fans in the stands behind the Democratic dugout chanted ‘Four More Years, Four More Years’ while spectators seated on the Republican side chanted ‘TPA, TPA’ — a reference to the Trade Promotion Authority that Obama is seeking from Congress.

Of course, the 22nd Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits Obama from running for a third term.

While TPA, which would give the president “fast-track” authority on trade agreements, technically passed the House Friday, an extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which gives aid to workers displaced by trade agreements, failed to clear the lower chamber. TAA’s passage is required for TPA to reach the president’s desk. A second vote on TAA could happen Tuesday.

As for the game, the Democrats came out victorious over the Republicans 5-2 at Nationals Park, marking their seventh straight victory. The game benefited local D.C. charities, including the Washington Literacy Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

Obama brought his home brewed beer for the victors and tweeted a photo of himself with the Nationals’ mascots.

h/t: Breitbart

What do you think of this? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Breaking: House Votes To Give Obama More Power

The House passed sweeping legislation Friday that will give the executive branch “fast-track” authority on trade negotiations.

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) barely passed 219 to 211 Friday. Once signed into law, it would force Congress to cast an up or down vote on trade agreements without adding any amendments, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Obama huddled with House Democrats in an effort to whip as many votes as possible ahead of Friday’s session, The Hill reported. The Senate passed the bill last month.

One of the most surprising “yea” votes was cast by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, after a deal was brokered to insert an immigration provision he proposed in the TPA legislation:

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to negotiate or finalize a trade agreement that includes provisions relating to visas issued under section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)).’

“This amendment is the foundation of my language that will be enrolled with TPA,” King said in a statement. “My language tells the executive branch that they cannot negotiate changes in our immigration laws or use visa programs as a negotiating tool. Further, my language keeps immigration out of all future trade agreements negotiated under TPA. I am confident this has improved TPA and it gets me to a yes on the final bill.”

But documents in the Trade in Services Act (TiSA), another one of the deals that would be presented to Congress once TPA is enacted, names 37 industries where U.S. visa processes must be expedited, requiring no more than 30 days for a temporary worker visa to be approved, as pointed out by Breitbart.

The news outlet also mentioned that only an “[X]” is given where the number of years would be filled in for the length of entry or temporary stay.

Conversly, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., came out against TPA. “[W]hile I’m a big supporter of TAA, if TAA slows down the fast track, I am to vote — I am prepared to vote against TAA,” Pelosi said on the House floor ahead of the vote. “Because its defeat, sad to say, is the only way that we will be able to slow down the fast track.”

The House failed to pass an extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program (TAA), 126 to 302, which gives aid to workers displaced by trade agreements–but was proposed again by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, with a vote scheduled Tuesday. It was suspected that had TAA failed, TPA would not be brought to the floor for a vote.

TPP, one of the trade deals which will be presented to Congress, has been criticized from both the left and right and shrouded in secrecy, as Edward-Isaac Dovere noted in Politico last month. “If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.”

The lower chamber also passed Trade Enforcement legislation, which includes language tightening restrictions on trade manipulation and “make[s] permanent the tax deduction for charitable contributions of food by any trade or business.”

Do you think this will destroy American jobs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exposed: Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Would Dramatically Alter American Immigration Policy

One of the several documents released by Wikileaks reveals that if Congress approves the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), American immigration policy will be dramatically altered.

TPA would fast-track deals like the Trade in Services Act (TiSA), one of three close-to-completely-negotiated deals which is less transparent than even the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), according to Breitbart:

TiSA is even more secretive than TPP. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can review the text of TPP in a secret, secured room inside the Capitol—and in some cases can bring staffers who have high enough security clearances—but with TiSA, no such draft text is available.

Documents recovered by Wikileaks show about ten pages pertaining to immigration. “The existence of these ten pages on immigration in the Trade and Services Agreement make it absolutely clear in my mind that the administration is negotiating immigration – and for them to say they are not – they have a lot of explaining to do based on the actual text in this agreement,” Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA, told Breitbart after reviewing the documents.

The ten pages, entitled “Annex on Movement of Natural Persons,” name 37 industries where the U.S. visa processes must change for the pending trade deal, requiring no more than 30 days for a temporary foreign worker visa to be approved, something Jenks found troublesome. “We will not be able to meet those requirements without essentially our government becoming a rubber stamp because it very often takes more than 30 days to process a temporary worker visa,” she said.

Jenks also spotted another issue: “The fact that there’s a footnote in this agreement that says that face to face interviews are too burdensome … we’re supposed to be doing face to face interviews with applicants for temporary visas.”

Breitbart also pointed out that on page 4 of the document, only an “[X]” is provided where the number of years would be filled in for the length of entry or temporary stay.

According to Breitbart, Jenks explained that, “with L visas under current U.S. immigration law, the time limit is seven years – so if the agreement were to go beyond seven years, it would change current U.S. law. This wouldn’t be unconstitutional if Obama has fast-track authority under TPA, as Congress would essentially have given him the power to finalize all aspects of the negotiations, including altering immigration law.”

The House could be voting on TPA as early as Friday, as the Senate approved the measure last month.

What do you think of TPA? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

The Ex-Im Bank: By Doing Nothing, Congress Sides With Taxpayers And Basic Market Principles

After more than three-quarters of a century, the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) could close its doors on June 30.

Ex-Im was created by Executive Order in 1934 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. With the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, Congress made Ex-Im an independent agency and required that Ex-Im be reauthorized every four to five years. Ex-Im’s current authorization expires at month’s end.

Ex-Im has historically enjoyed bipartisan support. However, the need to cut spending—coupled with watchdog reporting—brings reauthorization into question. Under the Obama Administration, Ex-Im lending has increased 248 percent. Taxpayers now hold nearly $140 billion in Ex-Im exposure.

The Ex-Im website states: “EXIM Bank is more critical than ever to small businesses.” However, a recent report from American Transparency (AT), the Federal Transfer Report – Export- Import Bank, found that while 90 percent of Ex-Im loans do go to small businesses, 85 percent of the money goes to big business—10 percent of the transactions get 85 percent of the money.

The AT report, released on May 30, analyzed the $172 billion in Ex-Im loans, guarantees, and activity since 2007.

Boeing is Ex-Im’s number one customer.

However, a just-released addendum to the AT report highlights Ex-Im’s involvement in funding many of the green-energy projects I’ve covered in the past few years.

The addendum points to $3 billion green energy companies received from Ex-Im. There are more than $140 million worth of failures within the financial transaction portfolio—though “additional time, resources and further research would turn up much more.”

Solyndra is on the list. Just six months before its infamous bankruptcy, Ex-Im approved $10.3 million in long-term credit to Solyndra’s exports to Belgium.

Spanish solar company Abengoa, which is under investigation for a variety of violations, has an interesting connection to Ex-Im: former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is an advisory board member to Ex-Im and sits on Abengoa’s advisory board. The addendum states: “Abengoa has obligations of over $225 million in Ex-Im support.”

Other examples include Amonix, Evergreen Solar, Abound Solar, SolFocus, Calisolar/Silicor Materials, and Willard & Kelsey Solar Group—all received Ex-Im support and failed.

But, our taxpayer dollars didn’t just go to failing green-energy projects; they also went to foreign companies. In addition to Spain-based Abengoa, Germany-based Siemens Energy has been the recipient of $709.53 million in Ex-Im financing. Switzerland-based ABB got $89.22 million. France-based Areva Solar North America received nearly $54 million in Ex-Im support. China’s troubled Hanergy owns MiaSole, which received $9 million in “working capital” funding from Ex-Im.

Green-energy companies are not the only ones in the energy sector to take advantage of the low-cost, taxpayer-funded financing. Multinational oil company Exxon Mobil and oil industry service companies Halliburton and Schlumberger also received billions.

It is tough to chastise these companies for making wise business decisions in finding low-cost funding—but we can criticize Congress for allowing our taxpayer dollars to be given to them.

Ex-Im supporters claim that failure to reauthorize would threaten jobs. Siemens, GE, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, and Schlumberger—just to mention some of the big businesses in the energy sector—should all be able to continue without Ex-Im.

Addressing Ex-Im’s future, Adam Andrzejewski, Chairman of American Transparency and the report’s author says: “The fate of the bank is an important test that will show whether Congress is on the side of taxpayers, and basic market principles, or special interests that are capable of bending markets in their direction.”

Ex-Im is one case where a “do-nothing Congress” is a good thing. If they do nothing, Ex-Im’s authorization expires on June 30; and we, the taxpayers, will no longer be responsible for funding this corporate welfare.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

US House Gearing Up To Give Obama ‘Fast-Track’ Authority To Make This Secret Deal

The House is slated to vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation Friday, which would give fast-track trade authority to the executive branch. It was passed by the Senate last month.

“The vote is Friday,” Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., told reporters after a closed door meeting on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Bloomberg reported. If passed, the TPA would enable President Obama to send trade deals to Congress for up-or-down votes without any amendments.

Obama is hoping to use this authority to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a pending trade agreement between the United States and 11 other nations. The bill, H.R. 1314, is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday by the House Rules Committee, which bypasses the requirement to go into conference committee (something Democrats are quietly scoffing at, a Democratic aide told Bloomberg).

The publication breaks down the deal struck between the two parties in the lower chamber:

While the plan would meet Democratic demands to fund aid to displaced workers without making $700 million in Medicare cuts, the procedure proposed by Republicans would still demand that they vote for the Medicare cuts in one bill before reversing them in another.

That separate measure, H.R. 1295, would have to go to the Senate for another vote. Democrats want a guarantee that the provision dropping the Medicare cuts will be enacted, the aide said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, will take the issue to her members, the aide said. ‘In terms of fixing the Medicare offsets, we worked together to come up with a Medicare alternative, and we did,’ [House Speaker John] Boehner, a Republican said.

Two House aides told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity that 200 Republicans and about 25 House Democrats were prepared to vote ‘yes’ Friday, clearing the 218 hurdle needed to pass the measure. There are 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats in the House.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a staunch opponent of TPA and TPP, sent an open letter to Obama earlier this week asking the president, among other things, about a “global governance” that would be established between the 12 member nations of TPP, and if the number of foreign workers would be altered as a consequence of the agreement.

He also pointed out that the details of TPP have not been disclosed to the public, kept in a closed room, and “more closely resembles a treaty than a trade deal. In other words, through fast-track, Congress would be pre-clearing a political and economic union before a word of that arrangement has been made available to a single private citizen.”

What do you think of TPA/TPP? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth