One of the most stunning realities of Washington, D.C. in President Obama's post-rule-of law era is that some continue to operate under the illusion that there will be business as usual in the wake of the president's executive amnesty.
Among the most delusional are those that continue to argue that Congress cede its ability to approve or disapprove treaties through granting fast-track authority to a president who has proven that his interests don't coincide with those that a majority in Congress claim to espouse.
Some continue to push the notion that this president should be provided fast-track authority in seeking approval for a still-being-negotiated treaty known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has largely been negotiated in secret, and there are those who seek to have it "fast-tracked" in the lame-duck session, or early next year when nobody is paying attention.
The obvious question is: Why would Congress give this president any more legitimate power?
Under fast-track, the executive branch is empowered to sign trade agreements before Congress has an opportunity to vote on them, and then unilaterally write legislation making the pacts' terms U.S. federal law. Congress would give up its prerogative to amend the treaty, instead having to give an up or down vote in its entirety without being able to amend offensive sections.
In today's environment of executive branch overreach, it makes zero sense to allow Obama to unilaterally write conforming legislation after he waves his mighty pen signing the treaty.
In the wake of his Constitution-shredding executive amnesty, and his Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) piecemeal implementation of congressionally defeated cap and trade legislation, no one who cares about the legislative branch should touch giving Obama fast-track authority.
But in Washington's business as usual climate, lobbyists are jostling each other, attempting to give Obama just this authority by scheming to use various corporate crony goody bags, such as tax extenders, as potential vehicles.
Normally one would expect Big Labor's clamoring against fast-track to have a huge effect, but the reality revealed by the Senate Keystone XL vote is that the Democrats, who they are politically all-in for, don't care what they think when it comes to jobs. The new, cool Democratic Party techie left trumps the old blue-collar stiffs who are only kept around for willingness to use their member's dues to fill campaign coffers. So, the job erosion/lower wage argument against TPP, and most importantly, fast-track authority, will be politically muted.
To give one a sense of the impact of providing Obama carte blanche on the TPP, the deals he will be negotiating will affect everything you buy, every phone call and email you make or send, everything bought or sold, everything grown, eaten and manufactured, every drug and every unit of energy used in the U.S.
Quite simply, in this one piece of fast-track legislation, Congress would be ceding congressional oversight over all of those areas.
In the pre-Obama past, when the executive branch respected the rule of law and Congress's constitutional prerogatives, fast-track authority has been granted, because it was not conceivable that it would be abused.
Now, it is inconceivable that it won't be.
Congress needs to reject all efforts to provide fast-track authority for the TransPacific Partnership, at least until President Obama has left office.