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Entries in ALG (1594)

Friday
Feb272015

ALG responds to Rep. Emmer letter on fast track trade promotion authority on TPP 

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Feb. 25, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today in a letter to Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and House Republicans responded to the Congressman's push in favor of granting fast track trade promotion authority (TPA) to President Barack Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

 

"There continues to be a misconception that TPA will allow Congress to set objectives for negotiations, in particular as they relate to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal," wrote Manning in his letter.

 

Manning was responding to a dear colleague letter from Rep. Emmer obtained by Americans for Limited Government that told fellow House members that "Through TPA, Congress establishes the negotiating objectives for the Administration and ensures that Congress is consulted closely throughout the negotiations."

 

To which, Manning responded, "Congress can demand anything it wants, but President Obama is under no legal requirement to follow those demands.  In fact, the only way that Congress has to impose its will on a negotiating process is to force any treaty submitted to be subjected to full and transparent scrutiny, including the ability to amend objectionable sections.  Under TPA, this ability to fix highly objectionable areas is voted away."

 

The Americans for Limited Government letter to Emmer also noted that the Obama administration was already disregarding Congressional appeals for the trade representative to address currency manipulation: "Given that the U.S. Trade Representative testified earlier this year before the Senate that he chose to disregard a letter signed by a majority of the House and Senate urging that currency manipulation be included in any prospective deal, it is clear that President Obama has no more regard for Congressional input in this area than he has shown on immigration."

 

Trade promotion authority is expected come up in both the House and Senate as early as next month.

 

To view online: http://getliberty.org/alg-responds-to-rep-emmer-letter-on-fast-track-trade-promotion-authority-on-tpp/

 

Attachments: 

Americans for Limited Government letter to Rep. Tom Emmer, Feb. 25, 2015 at http://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LettertoEmmerandHouseGOP2-25-15.pdf

 

Rep. Tom Emmer letter to House colleagues at http://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/EmmerLetter.pdf

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Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org.

Thursday
Feb262015

ALG - FCC skips Congress, approves Net regs 

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Feb. 26, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 3-2 vote in favor of new so-called "net neutrality" regulations (partial transcript of meeting enclosed):

 

"The FCC has voted to do that which Congress has denied — and that's essentially to rewrite the 1934 Communications Act to treat broadband Internet as a utility under Title II. Whatever the merits of 'net neutrality,' the fact is that this entire process has been designed to avert the traditional, constitutional lawmaking process. It also creates much regulatory uncertainty, since broadband was previously treated as exempt 'information services' providers by the FCC in 2002. This is a dysfunctional regulatory precedent where an agency can simply change its interpretation of law depending on the partisan composition of the board. That is not the rule of law, it is rule by executive decree. Why even have a Congress? 

"This new rule, when it is finally published, as anyone familiar with public utilities knows, will guarantee higher rates, less competition, and a regulatory burden that stifles innovation. It is nothing more than authoritarian overreach, an extra-legal assault on our system of government.  The Obama regime continues its track record of disregard and disdain for precedent, the Constitution and simple fairness."

 

To view online: http://getliberty.org/fcc-skips-congress-approves-net-regs/

 

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Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org.

Thursday
Feb262015

ALG - Senators Sullivan and Nelson ask tough questions of NTIA at Internet governance hearing 

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Legal authority to perform Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and the global multistakeholder community questioned

 

Feb. 25, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) for the questions they asked National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) head Lawrence Strickling at today's Internet governance hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee:

 

"Americans for Limited Government strongly praises Senator Nelson and Senator Sullivan for asking the tough questions of NTIA and asserting Congressional prerogatives over any transfer of Internet governance to the international community. These are the questions that need to be asked of an administration that is hell-bent on averting Congressional votes granting legal authority for the Internet transfer, and so Congress should continue to deny that authority. No less than the First Amendment protections for the Internet afforded by a government contract are at stake.

 

"In fact, we are astonished that almost one year after NTIA announced the Internet governance transfer, the agency still refuses to provide the agency's actual legal authority document to perform the transfer. It is amazing Mr. Strickling was unable to assure Senator Sullivan that he could produce the legal opinion, despite previous numerous Congressional requests, media inquiries from the Wall Street Journal, and even an almost one-year old Freedom of Information Act request from Americans for Limited Government. It is becoming increasingly concerning that the agency may have proceeded with the Internet transfer without ever having received even an internal legal opinion of the authority to perform the transfer."

 

To view online: http://getliberty.org/senators-sullivan-and-nelson-ask-tough-questions-of-ntia-at-internet-governance-hearing/

 

Attachments:

 

Senator Dan Sullivan questioning NTIA head Lawrence Strickling, Feb. 25, 2015 at

http://www.senate.gov/isvp/?type=LIVE&comm=commerce&filename=commerce022515&stt=01:26:25

 

Sullivan: "There's been a lot of articles in the paper very concerned about this, as I certainly am, but one of those has actually raised a very important issue that I'd also like you to address is your legal authority to do this. Again, another issue with this administration I have a problem with is taking action where you have no legal authority. Under the Constitution, the Congress has the power to transfer federal government property. [IANA functions] is federal government property, it is valuable property, and I don't think you've been authorized by Congress to take this action yet."

 

Strickling: "There is no government property that is the subject of this contract. All the contract does is designate ICANN to perform the IANA functions. They were given no assets of the United States with which to perform these functions. The domain name file is—"

 

Sullivan: "Is there a Commerce Department legal opinion on this issue?"

 

Strickling: "Yes there is, sir."

 

Sullivan: "Can we see that?"

 

Strickling: "I'll take that back, I'm not in a position to say yes or no but I will [take your request back]."

 

Senator Bill Nelson questioning NTIA head Lawrence Strickling, Feb. 25, 2015 at http://www.senate.gov/isvp/?type=LIVE&comm=commerce&filename=commerce022515&stt=02:11:25

 

Nelson: "Last year, in the omnibus appropriations, a rider was placed that prevents NTIA from spending funds on the transition to IANA contract before September 30 of this year, 2015. Can you explain NTIA's interpretation of that rider, Mr. Secretary?"

 

Strickling: "We have interpreted that resolution or interpreted that language to prevent us from allowing the transition to occure before September 30… In consultations with members and staffs up here on the Hill, we sought to clarify whether that would in any way restrict our ability to monitor the transition planning process which is going on in the community, and is not subject to any restrictions in the legislation and in fact as you know the rider imposes reporting requirements on us. It was clear Congress intended us to continue to monitor the process and report back on what's happening. And then within that we had also indicated that our need and I think the needs of serving American interests that we provide feedback where we thought it was appropriate, and we have engaged in that. Again, I'm very careful not to steer decision-making one way or antoher but I think through a series of questions that we've been asking and will continue to ask we are trying to make sure the process considers all the issues before reaching a final result. But we take very seriously the fact that no transition will take place before September 30."

 

Nelson: "What happens if that rider is continued?"

 

Strickling: "Again, I wouldn't want to speculate on that. I'm hopeful that the process within the community will result in a proposal that will demonstrate to Congress and the valid concerns people have up here about the process that in fact it's being handled in a responsible fashion, that the transition will meet the conditions, and that there will be no need to extend that particular provision past September 30."

 

Nelson: "Well, is the world going to stop revolving if it is extended?"

 

Strickling: "I don't like to speculate on what will or won't happen in the future, but I'm pretty confident the world won't stop revolving, yes, sir."

 

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

 

 

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Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org.

 

Friday
Feb132015

ALG - Renew ICANN contract to stop Internet transition 

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Feb. 13, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement responding to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) CEO Fadi Chehade's recent comments that "Those who are genuinely committed to the quality of the proposal for the US government, are correct that we should not put deadlines. But those who for their own purposes try to delay the process, should make no mistake that we know that the most powerful tool to kill something is to delay it":

 

"Mr. Chehade is correct. The surest way to stop something from happening is to first delay it. And that is exactly what Congress should do, by insisting that the Commerce Department renew the current Internet governance contract for at least two more years. ICANN obviously is very concerned about its so-called 'window of opportunity,' so Congress should deny it. What's the rush?

 

"To those committed to the freedom that the First Amendment affords through government control over Internet governance, there should be no rush to sacrifice those protections so lightly, and without any Congressional involvement as provided for under the Constitution. The free and open Internet depends on there being a remedy in the event of censorship. Right now, there is Commerce Department control and oversight over the contract with ICANN, judicial remedy and, ultimately, the difficulty of passing legislation through Congress all serve as firewalls against foreign capture of these functions."

 

To view online: http://getliberty.org/renew-icann-contract-to-stop-internet-transition/

 

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

 

 

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Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org.

Wednesday
Feb112015

ALG - Tell Congress no 'fast track' trade authority for Obama! 

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Feb. 10, 2015

Dear Liberty Activist,

Click here to urge Congress to oppose fast track trade authority for Obama!

Congress is considering giving President Barack Obama fast track trade authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Fast track means that Congress would cede its right to amend the trade deal. Instead, it would be granted an up or down vote — even if it needed to be fixed — and that is the primary reason why Congress must say no.

At a time when the President has for all intents and purposes declared war on the constitutional separation of powers, it makes zero sense for Congress to voluntarily weaken its treaty ratification prerogatives. Why not make Obama go through the process under regular order, with amendments allowed?

Obama should have to explain and where necessary defend every word in any treaty he agrees to, with it being held to the highest level of scrutiny.  That is Congress' job.  It is also their job to amend or defeat any treaty that falls short of being in America's interests.

If Obama produces a good trade deal for America, whether or not there is fast track authority granted him, it can be ratified intact.  But it would be foolhardy for Congress to not reserve the right to amend the Trans-Pacific Partnership given the experience of the past six years.

You know what to do! Let's get on Rally Congress and urge both House and Senate members to oppose fast track trade authority for Obama!

Not giving the President trade promotion authority is not anti- trade.  In fact, the United States already exports $861 billion to the trans-Pacific trade partners, accounting for almost 40 percent of the $2.2 trillion of U.S. exports worldwide in 2012.

That includes $48 billion of goods and services to Australia, $559 million to Brunei Darussalam, $354 billion to Canada, $22 billion to Chile, $116 billion to Japan, $15 billion to Malaysia, $243 billion to Mexico, $5.2 billion to New Zealand, $9.4 billion to Peru, $43 billion to Singapore, and $5 billion to Vietnam.

As a result of this continued trade, our economic bonds with these nations are tight. 

However, opposition to fast track is a recognition of the need for Congress to exert its constitutional prerogatives so they can play their proper role in the treaty ratification process. Now it is time for Congress to step up and fight for the constitutional separation of powers — not give more executive powers to Obama to negotiate a bad deal for the U.S. economy.

Let's keep fighting!

For Liberty,


Robert Romano
Senior Editor
Americans for Limited Government