House blocks trade deal from moving forward but may try again

After votes earlier today, the House has at least for now set aside the threat of giving Presidents the authority to use trade deals to guarantee other countries the ability to send their workers to take jobs in the U.S.

When the Senate passed the "fast-track" Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, it set things up so that it could go to the President to be signed only if the House passed BOTH the TPA and a companion Senate trade assistance bill.

The House today was able to pass only one of those must-pass bills, narrowly approving the TPA bill (219-211). But the trade assistance bill garnered only 126 votes, with 302 voting against it. That effectively killed TPA for the present moment.

Republican House Leaders, however, could decide to bring the trade assistance bill back to the floor early next week in hopes of persuading around 90 Members (mostly Democrats) to switch their vote to pass what Pres. Obama and House Majority Leader Boehner consider to be a top priority.

"We are not done with this," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said.

Moments before the first vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had been silent on the issue, urged Democrats to vote against the two bills, hoping to keep TPA from reaching the President's desk. Pelosi pleaded with Republican House Leadership to focus on legislation that puts American workers first instead of free trade; something she failed to do during the amnesty debates of the past two years.

Pelosi led 144 Democrats in joining 158 Republicans to defeat the trade assistance bill. That was all that was needed today to keep TPA from going to Pres. Obama, who had made a rare personal visit to the Capitol to meet with Democrats in an emotional appeal for them to help him pass TPA as an important part of his legacy.


Revealed: The Secret Immigration Chapter in Obama’s Trade Agreement

...secretive Obamatrade documents released by Wikileaks are key details on how technically any Republican voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast-track trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would technically also be voting to massively expand President Obama’s executive authority when it comes to immigration matters.

The mainstream media covered the Wikileaks document dump extensively, but did not mention the immigration chapter contained within it, so Breitbart News took the documents to immigration experts to get their take on it...

The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law. TiSA, like TPP or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deals, are international trade agreements that President Obama is trying to force through to final approval. The way he can do so is by getting Congress to give him fast-track authority through TPA.

TiSA is even more secretive than TPP...

Voting for TPA, of course, would essentially ensure the final passage of each TPP, T-TIP, and TiSA by Congress, since in the history of fast-track any deal that’s ever started on fast-track has been approved.

Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration...

Obama will be able to finalize all three of the Obamatrade deals, without any Congressional input, if Congress grants him fast-track authority by passing TPA...

The Senate passed the TPA last month, so it is up to the House to put the brakes on Obama’s unilateral power...

“This Trade and Services Agreement is specifically mentioned in TPA as being covered by fast-track authority, so why would Congress be passing a Trade Promotion Authority Act that covers this agreement, if the U.S. weren’t intended to be a party to this agreement – so at the very least, there should be specific places where the U.S. exempts itself from these provisions and there are not,” explained Jenks.

...this is a draft, but at this point “certainly the implication is that the U.S. intends to be a party to all or some of the provisions of this agreement. There is nothing in there that says otherwise, and there is no question in my mind that some of the provisions in this Trade and Services Agreement would require the United States to change its immigration laws.”

In 2003, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that said no immigration provision should be in trade agreements – and in fact, former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) voted for this resolution.

The existence of these 10 pages is in clear violation of that earlier unanimous decision, and also in violation of the statements made by the U.S. Trade Representative.

“He has told members of Congress very specifically the U.S. is not negotiating immigration – or at least is not negotiating any immigration provisions that would require us to change our laws. So, unless major changes are made to the Trade and Services Agreement – that is not true,” said Jenks.

There are three examples within the 10 pages of areas where the U.S. would have to alter current immigration law.

First, on page 4 and 5 of the agreement, roughly 40 industries are listed where potentially the U.S. visa processes would have to change to accommodate the requirements within the agreement.

Jenks explained that under the agreement, the terms don’t have an economic needs based test, which currently U.S. law requires for some types of visa applications in order to show there aren’t American workers available to fill positions.

Secondly, on page 7 of the agreement, it suggests, “The period of processing applications may not exceed 30 days.”

Jenks said this is a massive problem for the U.S. because so many visa applications take longer than 30 days.

“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 with the application process.

“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,” she added.

“According to the State Department Consular Officer, it’s the in person interviews that really gives the Consular Officer an opportunity to determine – is this person is a criminal, is this person a terrorist … all of those things are more easily determined when you’re sitting face to face with someone and asking those questions.”

The third issue is present on page 4 of the agreement. It only provides an “[X]” where the number of years would be filled in for the entry or temporary stay.

Jenks explained that for example, 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.

“I think this whole thing makes it very clear that this administration is negotiating immigration...

Ann Coulter questions media's news coverage of immigration

Read Ann Coulter's letter in the Human Events publication and learn why we never seem to hear any bad news about immigrants.  Ann cuts right to the heart of it.

Greg Walden endorses trade bill, calls it a 'win for jobs and exports in Oregon'

As a House vote nears on the "fast track" trade bill, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden says he will support the legislation clearing the way for approval of the massive Pacific Rim trade pact now in final negotiations..

In a statement released late Tuesday night, Walden said:

"The U.S. House will soon vote on a bill that would allow us to establish fair and strong trade rules.  The bill lays out our trade priorities of fairness and competition—to whomever is in the White House. It requires any final agreement be made public for at least 60 days. And it requires an up or down vote in the Congress before any trade agreement is final. It's a win for jobs and exports in Oregon, and a win for transparency and accountability. I intend to support this bill to ensure that we can tear down barriers and open up new markets for Oregon's farmers, ranchers, and small businesses."

Walden's statement appeared to be aimed at part at influencing wavering Republicans in anticipation of what is expected to be a close vote....

Under the fast track bill, known as Trade Promotion Authority, the president can submit a trade pact to Congress for an up or down vote with no amendments allowed.

Walden is chairman of the House Republican campaign committee and thus has strong political ties...

On the Senate side, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., opposed the bill while Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., helped shape the wording of the measure and was a strong proponent.

Senator Wyden has announced upcoming town hall meetings

Alert date: 
May 26, 2015
Alert body: 

Senator Wyden has announced upcoming town hall meetings to be held soon in Polk, Yamhill, and Tillamook Counties. Please attend if you can, and speak to him about immigration issues.

Below the schedule, there is background information that may help you formulate your comments and questions.

Polk County town hall »
May 29 2015 10:00AM
Nesmith Readiness Center
12830 Westview Drive
Dallas, OR 

Yamhill County town hall »
May 29 2015 1:00PM
McMinnville High School
615 NE 15th St
McMinnville, OR

Tillamook County town hall »
May 30 2015 10:30AM
Port of Tillamook Bay Officers Mess Hall
6825 Officer's Row
Tillamook, OR 


Senator Wyden is graded F- by NumbersUSA based on his voting record on immigration issues in 2015. This year alone he voted 7 times in favor of measures supporting amnesty for illegal aliens: 6 times for funding President Obama’s amnesties and once to confirm a Presidential appointee for U.S. Attorney General who is openly in favor of amnesty.

Also, he has been a prominent advocate for Trade Promotion Authority that would fast-track international trade agreements without adequate examination by Congress or citizens, and including allowing unknown numbers of foreign workers to take jobs from citizens. See this report on Sen. Wyden’s role and the status of the fast-track bill in Congress now:

Sen. Wyden has been in Congress for over 30 years. His overall career grade by NumbersUSA is F for his votes on immigration issues.

Tell Sen. Wyden  politely but firmly - that U.S. immigration policies should put the interests of U.S. citizens first, not the interests of corporations that profit from cheap labor, and not the interests of illegal aliens and other foreign nationals.

Tell him that our country’s future is in grave danger from overpopulation which is primarily due to excessive immigration now and in recent decades. Furthermore, much of current immigration comes uninspected, allowing easy entry for persons who wish to harm us.

Rep. Mo Brooks amendment passes; keeps DREAMers out of military

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks succeeded Thursday in his quest to keep certain immigrants from serving in the military.

His amendment to strike language from the defense spending bill that would clear the way for  individuals who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to serve in the military.

Brooks vowed to fight the amendment to the spending bill once it passed out of the House Armed Services Committee last month.

The Brooks amendment to strike the language added by U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego passed the full House on a 221-202 vote.

Brooks opposed the Gallego amendment because the Alabama Congressman said it would take military jobs from Americans at a time when the armed services are in a downsizing mode.

Three chairs of House committees – including U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry of the Armed Services Committee – spoke on the House floor in favor of Brooks' amendment.

"Today is a great victory for Americans and lawful immigrants who wish to serve America in our Armed Forces," Brooks said in a statement following the vote. "I asked my colleagues to consider how much American families are struggling in an anemic job and wage market and how much the Gallego amendment makes job and income prospects for Americans even worse.

"It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who seek to help illegal aliens deprive American citizens and lawful immigrants of military service opportunities."

Brooks, an immigration hardliner, has emerged in recent weeks as a House leader against the amendment. In a final lobbying effort Thursday, Brooks sent letters to his 434 colleagues in the House seeking their support.

"I'm pleased the House chose to stand up for American citizens and protect the Constitutional duty of Congress to set immigration law," Brooks said. Today's vote was the fourth rejection of the President's unconstitutional DACA program, with Republicans overwhelming standing up for the will of the American people and the citizens and lawful immigrants who want to serve our country."

It's difficult to keep up - but, we must!

Alert date: 
May 14, 2015
Alert body: 

FAIR sends this urgent Action Alert about a bill to be voted on soon in Congress with a section allowing illegal aliens who are DACA recipients to join the military, at a time when the military is downsizing and citizens' applications to join are being turned down. 

Worse still, the language used implies Congressional approval of amnesty.  An amendment by Rep. Mel Brooks would strip out this offensive section.

Please read FAIR's description of the problem and make the call to your U.S. Representative

Contact information for Oregon's U.S. Representatives is on the OFIR website at: or you can call the Capital switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative.


Your actions worked!

Alert date: 
May 12, 2015
Alert body: 

Sometimes it seems that nothing we do works in stopping elected officials from moving in the wrong direction.  But, this time it worked.  You and your calls and emails stopped it.  Read all about it - then pat yourself on the back!

If you quit - you lose for certain.  If you stay and fight, you may lose...but, you just might win!

Senate Dems block key plank of Obama trade agenda

President Obama suffered a defeat at the hands of his own party on Tuesday, as Senate Democrats blocked a key component of the president's trade agenda. 

After fierce lobbying on both sides of the debate, the proposal failed on a 52-45 vote. It needed 60 votes to advance. 

The president's supporters will likely try again...

At issue is Obama's push for so-called "fast track" authority -- which would let him negotiate trade deals that Congress can reject or ratify, but not amend....

But Democrats aligned with labor unions warned about the impact on U.S. jobs, and many influential Democrats have openly opposed the White House. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently told reporters he's a "hell no" on the proposal. And Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for days have traded jabs on the matter, with the president calling Warren's claims "absolutely wrong."


Congress votes Tuesday on trade deal - an attack on middle class and American workers...

Alert date: 
May 11, 2015
Alert body: 

The Senate is scheduled to vote on TPP on Tuesday. It is very important that it NOT be given fast track.

OFIR members:  Here are direct-dial numbers for Oregon Senators.

Capitol Switchboard -- (202) 224-3121 or direct dial numbers below.

When you call - you could say:

I urge you to oppose S.955, the bill that would grant fast-track trade authority to Pres. Obama. I believe Congress should retain its power to review and amend any trade agreement that the United States enters into, and by granting Pres. Obama fast-track authority, Congress would be giving up that power.

As Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama pointed out in his 5-page memo, free trade agreements have been used by past administrations to bypass Congress and make changes to existing immigration laws. Given this president's track record on immigration, I don't understand why you would want to give him such broad authority. Please tell the Senator to read Sen. Sessions' memo and oppose TPA.

Senator Ron Wyden – 202-224-5244

Sen. Wyden is a major supporter of the trade bill.  Please call him first.

***Senator Jeff Merkley – 202-224-3753

Sen. Merkley recently sent a letter to constituents critical of the fast-track trade bill.  The letter included this statement:  “The Senate Finance Committee recently considered a bill that would provide fast-track trade negotiating authority, and it is expected to be debated by the full Senate in the near future. The current bill does not meet the standards I have described, and I will oppose it in its current form.”

Please thank him for his position and urge him to stand firm in opposition to the fast-track trade bill.

Should both chambers of Congress pass "fast-track" legislation, Pres. Obama, and future presidents, can ram through international trade agreements that expand guest worker programs without any public debate.

For further understanding - please read:

There are numerous serious, significant consequences to passing the TPP. One is that it can open immigration floodgates. And unlike other trade agreements, a future president may unilaterally change the terms of the agreement as she sees fit.

Sen. Jeff Sessions has listed numerous failings of the TPP:
"There are numerous ways TPA could facilitate immigration increases above current law-and precious few ways anyone in Congress could stop its happening. For instance: language could be included or added into the TPP, as well as any future trade deal submitted for fast-track consideration in the next 6 years, with the clear intent to facilitate or enable the movement of foreign workers and employees into the United States..."
From a constitutional point of view, the proposed TPA powers are a nightmare. They allow the Executive Branch to create ever-shifting binding agreements with foreign powers that will not be subject to Congressional approval. Congress will only be able to vote agreements up or down, instead of being able to offer amendments.
Furthermore, ceding such powers to Barack Obama guts the constitutional objection to Barack Obama's Executive Amnesty. After all, if Congress doesn't feel itself capable of reviewing legislation on something as important on trade, why should it have any input on immigration?...

What's worse, only two Republican Senators (Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Mike Lee of Utah) have confirmed that they bothered to read the trade deal they will be voting on this week...and have declared they will vote against it....


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