Obama signs another executive order — to act where Democrats won’t

posted at 9:01 pm on February 19, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

As we’re all painfully aware by now, the Obama administration’s semi-official policy these days is to simply use executive action as often and as far as possible (and oftentimes, even farther than that), since Congress (ahem, spiteful obstructionist Republicans, amirite? cough) isn’t feeling cooperative enough to send him any legislation he’d deign to sign. Earlier today, President Obama added yet another executive action to his impressively expansive repertoire, but this one was actually aimed at helping to speed up the process through which small businesses gain U.S. government approval for exports or imports, via Reuters:

The order, signed on Air Force One as Obama flew to Mexico to meet the Mexican and Canadian leaders, is the latest example of Obama using executive authority to act on his own where he can without needing congressional approval.

“Trade is critical to the nation’s prosperity – fueling economic growth, supporting good jobs at home, raising living standards, and helping Americans provide for their families with affordable goods and services,” the order said.

Obama’s move has the aim of cutting the time needed for processing and approving for small businesses that export American-made goods.

His order is tantamount to a pledge to complete by December 2016, near the end of his presidency, the International Trade Data System, which aims to be a centralized online access point to connect U.S. Customs, the trade community and 47 government agencies.

At the moment, businesses have to submit information to dozens of government agencies, all on paper forms, in order to obtain permission to export across the border. The new electronic system (in theory, as ever) should help reduce wait times for businesses to just minutes and “will speed up the shipment of American-made goods overseas, eliminate often duplicative and burdensome paperwork, and make our government more efficient,” according to a White House statement. It actually sounds like a solid idea, and indeed, President Obama has (highly selectively, ugh) included boosting exports on his economic agenda as a means to boost growth for awhile now.

It’s refreshing, then, that President Obama finally seems to be realizing that you can’t merely push just exports for their own sake; to really reap the mutually enriching benefits of free trade, you also have to make way for imports from other countries. Obama has been working on acquiring free-trade fast-track authority and putting together a couple of major trade agreements (trade agreements certainly aren’t ideal, but in this global regulatory crapshoot of ours, I’ll take whatever we can get), much to the chagrin of many members of Congress — but if you’re tempted think it’s Republicans who are really standing in his way on this one… you would be wrong.

The White House says it will continue to press Congress for authority to speed approval of trade deals even as election-year politics makes the task harder.

The Obama administration is engaged in two difficult trade negotiations, one with Japan and 10 other Pacific nations, and the other a proposed trans-Atlantic deal with European Union nations. The trans-Pacific talks are closer to completion. …

The fast track process, more formally known as “trade promotion authority,” empowers presidents to negotiate trade deals and then present them to Congress for up-or-down votes, with no amendments allowed.

Such trade deals have always been more popular with Republicans than Democrats.

That’s largely because business interests aligned with Republicans have always formed the core support for efforts to expand trade, while labor unions traditionally supportive of Democrats claim trade deals like NAFTA have cost U.S. jobs, helping to send them overseas.

There are a handful of conservative types who’ve hinted that they’d oppose the president on this, but generally, Boehner is pushing the White House to get more aggressive about touting one of the pillars of their economic agenda that Republicans actually agree could be good for growth and jobs — knowing full well, of course, that the White House probably doesn’t care to get too vocal about it right now. Too many Democrats are already on the run from his image as it is, and the labor unions from which Democrats secure so much of their campaign financing are exceedingly fond of exports while not at all partial to imports. It’s a damn shame if the White House rolls over and dies on this, because the countries with whom we’re working would really appreciate it if they could get some certainty out of the negotiating process — and in the meantime, the American economy continues to struggle. Via Myron Brilliant at the WSJ:

President Obama in his State of the Union address called for Congress to grant him Trade Promotion Authority to “open new markets to new goods stamped ‘Made in the USA.’ ” The next day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned that “Everyone would be well-advised not to push this right now.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said last Wednesday that the bipartisan TPA bill introduced in January was “out of the question.” …

Imported manufactured goods face U.S. tariffs averaging a mere 2%, with a few exceptions for protected industries such as apparel, footwear and sugar. But U.S. manufacturers and farmers often face far higher tariffs and other steep trade barriers when entering foreign markets, beginning every game a dozen points behind. …

The interference damages the U.S. economy. In 2010, the Commerce Department estimated that foreign tariffs reduce the earnings of U.S. factory workers by as much as 12%. The impact spreads to other sectors such as agriculture due to non-tariff barriers including unscientific sanitary requirements. The way to fix these inequalities? New trade agreements that demand accountability and fairness.


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Oh, FFS…IMPEACH!!

Bish.

Newtie and the Beauty on February 19, 2014 at 9:03 PM

…THE KING!

KOOLAID2 on February 19, 2014 at 9:03 PM

I’m torn. On the one hand, executive overreach which I despise. On the other, this may piss off Harry, which I enjoy.

Choices, choices.

xNavigator on February 19, 2014 at 9:07 PM

xNavigator on February 19, 2014 at 9:07 PM

From Article 2, Section 2: [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…

Impeach.

Newtie and the Beauty on February 19, 2014 at 9:11 PM

New trade agreements that demand accountability and fairness.

That’s what we were told NAFTA,GATT,and WTO would ensure– free, fair trade– back in the 90′s. Look how that worked out for us.

shubalstearns on February 19, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Whoa!!! Did I read that right? Obama has finally done something right? He is allowing exports to go out quicker with a lowering of import tariffs?

I understand that in an ideal world we’d get a Chief Executive that actually goes to Congress, but I’ll take what I can get.

307wolverine on February 19, 2014 at 9:12 PM

While President Urkel has his pen out, perhaps he can EO some legislation that speeds up the tax-exempt approval process for 501-3© groups? Nah… that wouldn’t make sense at all.

TheLoudTalker on February 19, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Occasionally a Fascist Tyrant throws the impotent opposition a bone?

workingclass artist on February 19, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Raise your hand if you think that zero actually originates any of these EO’s or even signs them. Its all val/jar or maybe Podesta creating a series of huge road blocks for the country all in the name of socialism.

rodguy911 on February 19, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Raise your hand if you think that zero actually originates any of these EO’s or even signs them. Its all val/jar or maybe Podesta creating a series of huge road blocks for the country all in the name of socialism.

rodguy911 on February 19, 2014 at 9:14 PM

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Valerie Jarrett has been running this country ever since this loser was elected.

He’s a figure-head; a mouth-piece. Nothing more.

predator on February 19, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Executive Order Action Excrement …

ShainS on February 19, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Occasionally a Fascist Tyrant throws the impotent opposition a bone?
workingclass artist on February 19, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Fixed

CWchangedhisNicagain on February 19, 2014 at 9:21 PM

So Pharaoh has the power to RATIFY TREATIES without Congress now?

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Raise your hand if you think that zero actually originates any of these EO’s or even signs them. Its all val/jar or maybe Podesta creating a series of huge road blocks for the country all in the name of socialism.

rodguy911 on February 19, 2014 at 9:14 PM

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Valerie Jarrett has been running this country ever since this loser was elected.

He’s a figure-head; a mouth-piece. Nothing more.

predator on February 19, 2014 at 9:20 PM

It’s Poedesta.

The whole reason why Soros moved him into the Regime was to write these for him.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Quick…. somebody cancel the Kenyan Pharaoh’s passport while he’s in Meh-hee-ko.

viking01 on February 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Quick…. somebody cancel the Kenyan Pharaoh’s passport while he’s in Meh-hee-ko.

viking01 on February 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Won’t work.

He has an Indonesian passport he used when he visited Pock-E-STON back in the 80′s

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM

…or he did understand what he was doing and the bubble that will devastate the middle class and retirees is all on purpose.
 
rogerb on February 18, 2014 at 2:31 PM

 
…Democrats only have so much political capital, and that capital was spent on other things…
 
segasagez on February 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM

 
…so your position is that the Obama administration has been impotent since passing Obamacare?
 
rogerb on February 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

 

rogerb on February 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Would someone please, hijack AirForce 1, fly it to Texas, get Clinton, Bush, and Obama together and give him the short course on what it takes to pass legislation. This guy has no clue on what it takes to get a bill through congress. His first 2 years, all he did was call SanFran Nan and say let’s pass this and it was done. So, he thinks he can’t do anything because the real world isn’t like that. Well sorry, Mr. President, that is the real world and you should be doing it the right way.

How on earth we elected this amateur to the White House I’ll never know. I know who I blame, the Democrats and the press, but I just don’t understand how we did this twice. Once I can figure out, all of this living in an alternate universe. The problem is that the vast majority of the people knew he was an amateur and all it would have taken to get Romney, would have been just a little nudge from the MSM. Instead they did everything in their power to protect him from the obvious problems he had. Now we’re stuck with the amateur for more than 2 years.

It’s time for accountability and it’s time to start with the MSM. How, you ask, can we hold them accountable? The only way possible, don’t subscribe, don’t watch, don’t answer a poll, don’t do anything as far as the MSM is concerned. It’s hard to accomplish, but that’s what it’s going to take. The MSM has to understand how complicit they’ve been in this and they have to be held accountable, if they really feel they deserve 1st Amendment protections. Why protect a propaganda outfit?

bflat879 on February 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Quick…. somebody cancel the Kenyan Pharaoh’s passport while he’s in Meh-hee-ko.
 
viking01 on February 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM

 
Won’t work.
 
He has an Indonesian passport he used when he visited Pock-E-STON back in the 80′s
 
ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM

 
Weird how he doesn’t say Nippon or Deutschland though, isn’t it?

rogerb on February 19, 2014 at 9:38 PM

So Pharaoh has the power to RATIFY TREATIES without Congress now?
ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Congress has been deemed null and void, what are they going to do stop him? And what do you expect them to do, they only control 1/2 of 1/3 of congress. Give them a break.

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Wait, how did I do that?

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:41 PM

The beat goes on. But don’t worry the primaries and the midterms are coming up so everything is going to be sunshine and lollipops when the republicans come riding to the rescue. Oh wait. If they take over the senate and hold the house they’ll only control 2/3 of the government so they still won’t have any power. But don’t worry…2016.

Jackson on February 19, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Wait, how did I do that?

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:41 PM

you quoted yourself like this :)

dmacleo on February 19, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Wait, how did I do that?

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:41 PM

With class, style and a refreshing lack of self-awareness.

I liked it! :-D

Newtie and the Beauty on February 19, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Makes me look amateurish, like I just last week.

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Like I just signed up last week. I’m done, it’s getting worse. I just wish Obama had the self awareness

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:58 PM

Like I just signed up last week. I’m done, it’s getting worse. I just wish Obama had the self awareness

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:58 PM

Aw, don’t kick yourself over it, Phat. We all know you’re human–and we wuvs you for that!

Besides, we have, all of us, done similar or worse. ;-)

Newtie and the Beauty on February 19, 2014 at 10:00 PM

phatfawzi on February 19, 2014 at 9:58 PM

Time for a new computer.

kcewa on February 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM

No way on this planet that the Democratic Party will ever impeach this moron. I f any one on the other side tries to, they’ll be labeled a racist & anti- american.

RightWingConservative on February 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

This is proof there is no leadership anywhere. Reid and Pelosi say don’t got there, the President does. Boehner and McConnell rail against executive orders, Obama issues yet another one. It appears no one is prepared for this, yet Obama pushes it anyway. Apparently, no one has any power in Washington D.C.

bflat879 on February 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

This Obama character is a real Jackal & Hide……

redguy on February 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Unfortunately, we have to wait 2 more years of this idiot-in chief to be removed from office (either willing or by force , I chose the latter)

RightWingConservative on February 19, 2014 at 10:19 PM

Certain government agency is changing to all electronic records and centralized wired programs only to find said systems cut efficiency and results in more downtime. ‘Cut the red tape’ is nothing more than a three card monte.

Klick the Dick on February 19, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Is this the same deal Reid wasn’t wanting to push?

Obama is just wasting money left and right on these EOs. Next President can strike them all down. Maybe he doesn’t plan on leaving.

MH53J on February 19, 2014 at 10:46 PM

My final thought on this. When it come to plausible deniability, I’m reminded of the scene, at the end of “A Few Good Men” when Jessup is being interrogated and he said that he’d given orders that there be no code red and he was asked, If you gave the order and someone did it any way then your direct order was disobeyed. Of course Jessup was adamant that no order he’d given would have been disobeyed and the rest of it ensued, with the comments that included “You can’t handle the truth” and he did indeed order the code red.

I guess my point here is that, when orders are given, they’re either followed or disobeyed. I just can’t imagine a direct order being disobeyed. Of course there are ways around that, to the extent you do not tell someone it’s a direct order unless you really mean it. Sort of like that “Line in the Sand” thing.

Do the Democrats want this, but don’t want their fingerprints on it, thus Obama does it by EO, or is Obama going his own way. My guess is the former and, if the Republicans can’t exploit this they’re totally inept and don’t deserve to have a majority in either the House or the Senate.

bflat879 on February 19, 2014 at 11:04 PM

As soon as Dingy is made to understand that this EO will require more illegal ali-newly minted American citizens to do the work, he’ll be on board. The reason Republicans like this is it allows them to continue to support the Chamber of Commerce’s support of President Oaf’s soon-to-be-implemented immigration policy.

OccamsRazor on February 19, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Do the Democrats want this, but don’t want their fingerprints on it, thus Obama does it by EO, or is Obama going his own way. My guess is the former and, if the Republicans can’t exploit this they’re totally inept and don’t deserve to have a majority in either the House or the Senate.

bflat879 on February 19, 2014 at 11:04 PM

You raise and interesting point, and one that seems very likely when you consider the Machiavellian characters involved. It covers the @$$es of those that still need their Union donations for re-election campaigns, while giving 0bama what he wants. Of course this means he may not be as clueless as some think, or maybe he just follows orders well.

I vote for the latter.

Nicely done!

Steele on February 19, 2014 at 11:35 PM

This is terrible. Doesn’t Obama know that this will lead to child labor expiration and the locking of fire exits or something?

blink on February 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Thread winner.

307wolverine on February 20, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Now wasn’t Obamacare supposed to cut red tape and make things easier?

And that was all electronic.

Obama wants the government to go to electronic records.

Like Obamacare does.

In the private sector electronic records means efficiency.

In the government sector electronic records mean they have more excuses not to do things which means greater inefficiency.

Paper must be pushed.

Electrons can be ignored.

ajacksonian on February 20, 2014 at 7:13 AM

Nothing wrong with this particular EO. Not even sure why he felt the need to sign one. Putting the database in place and simplifying procedures is what the government should be doing in the normal course of business. Should have been done years ago. Now he wants to draw attention to something that he promises to be done, and which should have already been done.

GlobalTrvlr on February 20, 2014 at 7:21 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DelhLppPSxY

CurtZHP on February 20, 2014 at 7:56 AM

Notice that he did this right after leaving the Annenberg ranch and golf course in CA. He must have gotten the marching order and they needed to be carried out pronto.

Kissmygrits on February 20, 2014 at 8:40 AM

While I am all for Congress having a say on official policy especially with other countries, I am not sure that administrative changes should be criticized, depending on what they are. It should not be controversial for a president to crack a whip and tell some agencies to shape up and do business in a more functional manner. But the opposite isn’t any good, and that is mostly what we get from democrat presidents bulking up the federal workforce with people who “Can’t.” We are always suspicious that Obama’s schemes add workers and never lay off the old ones who didn’t do a good job. And new technology schemes don’t work right…why? ask them at veteran’s affairs, they have gotten new technology that has sped up nothing, and their civilian workforce is not our best and brightest, doing the most efficient thing quickly.

This article doesn’t say, but do you think the Obama solution must add workers, right? I want a hiring freeze in D.C. now. When you have a nation wide search for the best employees, they don’t all come from the D.C. area.

Fleuries on February 20, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Maybe, just maybe, Reid will have a stroke over this. Help us, Obi Wan Obama, you’re our only hope.

HiJack on February 20, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Cough, Healthcare.gov, cough.

Obama’s inept regime will not get a running data system within three years so this is a mute point.

jukin3 on February 20, 2014 at 10:47 AM

If Obama said the website will be as easy to use as Travelocity, and it would decrease the cost of exporting goods by 25%… well, you can see where that ends up. Maybe he could submit the legislation to Congress and call it ‘The Affordable Exports Act‘.

s1im on February 21, 2014 at 8:18 PM