Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee this afternoon said he doesn’t know why Republicans in congress are “so intent” on giving President Obama “more power” to negotiate trade deals.
The Republican-led U.S. Senate has just approved “fast track” authority for Obama, which will speed approval of the pending Trans Pacific Partnership.
“Seventy-four percent of Republicans in America oppose this trade deal,” Huckabee said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “You would think that maybe some of the Republicans would be a little sensitive to the people who sent them there rather than to the donor class and the investor class who re clearly pushing this.”
According to Huckabee, U.S. officials since 1990 have been too “cavalier” about trade agreements which have led to the loss of U.S. jobs.
“I think trade is very important. I believe in free trade, it’s just that we haven’t seen much of it,” Huckabee said. “What we’ve seen is a very unbalanced trade agreement enacted upon the American worker.”
Huckabee called this a “defining point” for Republicans like him who are taking a stand against what he called the “Washington/Wall Street axis of power.” And Huckabee said if he is elected president, he would not seek “fast track” authority. That means congress could seek amendments in any trade deal he might negotiate.
“You want to make sure that the people’s elected representatives have a voice in it,” Huckabee said. “Frankly, I’m sure that there’s a political side of me that says, ‘I’d like to have the authority and you can trust me,’ but there’s not much trust in government right now and I think the more checks and balances that we can have, the better.”
The U.S. needs to respond to China’s currency manipulation and computer hacking, according to Huckabee, and he says that means taking away China’s “most favored nation” trading status. It means Chinese goods are not subject to tariffs and other barriers to export into the United States.
There are four Republican presidential candidates serving in the U.S. Senate. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky voted against giving Obama “fast track” authority on trade deals, while Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida supported the plan.