Flash back to 2015 –
Paul Ryan, who was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee at the time, played the lead role in legislation granting special fast-track rules for trade deals for the last months of Barack Obama’s presidency and the first few years of the new administration. The measure won support from 194 Republicans in the House and 48 in the Senate; that’s nearly 80 percent and 90 percent, respectively, of the GOP caucus in each chamber.
As the gavel fell on a critical vote advancing the global trade agenda, Rep. Paul D. Ryan pumped his arm, fist-bumped three Republicans and high-fived another.
Fast forward to January 2017 –
On Monday, President Trump delivered a knockout blow to that agenda. On his first full work day in the Oval Office, Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade pact among a dozen nations that was supposed to have been eased into passage by Ryan’s leadership 19 months ago.
Trump’s actions demonstrate his seriousness about reversing decades of Republican orthodoxy on globalism — a pledge he renewed during Friday’s inaugural address, when he committed to an “America first” agenda.
These actions also show the rocky road that may lie ahead for congressional Republicans on a range of policy issues. On Thursday, Trump and Vice President Pence will join their Republican brethren at an issues retreat in Philadelphia to talk about getting on the same page.
If past is prologue, Trump won’t be asking for the Hill’s help. He’ll be telling his fellow Republicans to get on board or step out of the way. They, in turn, will be figuring out how to stick to their principles while also positioning to play a role in Trump’s success.
In 2016, both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell stated that support for the deal had collapsed in both chambers. Why? Because presidential candidates including Trump and Bernie Sanders had successfully portrayed it as a bad pact for American workers.
When a handful of candidates can turn around a deal such as this by merely talking about it, it tells us that the Republicans didn’t really have faith in the bill nor did they truly believe it was good for the US. This reflects how easily Republicans can cast aside their ‘principles'( which is nothing new) when confronted with overpowering opposition. They’re behaving just as they did with O – they merely shrug their shoulders and accept the consequences.
Rather than see themselves as an equal body with equal standing demanding a discussion first, they are chameleons who change their colors according to their environment and the current king.
Whether the TPP is actually good for the US or not isn’t the point. The point is our Congress gave up their principles long ago and just recently changed their colors from blue to red.