On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R.-Tx.) announced that he has changed his stance and will no longer support the trade promotion authority (TPA) trade bill that President Obama and Republican leadership are trying to pass due to “corrupt Washington backroom deal-making.”
Cruz originally supported the fast track bill when it failed to pass the Senate back in May. In an April op-ed with Congressman Paul Ryan (R. -WI.) in the Wall Street Journal, Cruz hailed the trade bill as a “fair deal” for American workers.
The Republican presidential candidate announced his decision to withdraw support for the bill in a new op-ed on Conservative news outlet Breitbart mere hours before the Senate is scheduled to vote on TPA for a second time. Cruz writes that he believes free trade is good for the public “as did Ronald Reagan,” but that several things have happened since the original Senate TPA vote that have caused the Texas senator to change his mind.
Firstly, WikiLeaks released new documents insinuating that President Obama plans to use the Trade in Services Agreement (also known as TiSA) which is covered by the fast track trade bill to secretly pass changes in federal immigration law. Secondly, Cruz claims that the only reason TPA made it through the House was because leadership in both parties cut “secret deals.”
Cruz claims that he witnessed several senators talking during the original TPA vote and that he believes Republican Leadership promised support of the Ex-Im Bank which is set to expire on June 30 in exchange for votes to pass the trade bill.
Although Cruz says Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised him no deal was made, it was apparent that Speaker of the House John Boehner had made a deal with House Republicans and Democrats, throwing in Ex-Im Bank as a bargaining tool. Following the vote, the Speaker then retaliated against rouge conservatives in his party, stripping Rep. Mark Meadows (R.-NC.) of his subcommittee chairmanship because he didn’t vote the way Boehner wanted.
Sen. Cruz writes that he has had enough, saying, “I cannot vote for TPA unless McConnell and Boehner both commit publicly to allow the Ex-Im Bank to expire—and stay expired.
The Texas senator also writes that without an amendment blocking President Obama from changing federal immigration laws, he is forced to withdraw all support of the trade promotion authority bill. Even without support from Sen. Cruz, Republican Leadership appears confident that it will pass TPA.