Mr. Sessions also fears that Mr. Obama could use a trade pact to overrule domestic law, but the Republican is way behind the times here. We raised that fear in the last Congress, and Republicans wrote language into the bill that U.S. law will prevail in the event of a conflict with an agreement. The trade authority bill adds that “any commitments not disclosed to Congress before an implementing bill is introduced” will have “no force of law.”
The Alabama tub-thumper also distorts a 2011 deal with South Korea to increase the duration of L-1 work visas, which allow a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or managerial employee from one of its affiliated offices overseas to an office in the U.S. But, as an analysis by House Ways and Means points out, the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement did not expand this program. U.S. law already allowed L-1 visas to be extended—in this case to five years from three.
In short, as Congressman Paul Ryan puts it, the notion that a trade deal will rewrite U.S. immigration law is “an urban legend.” But we think that’s too kind.
The Jeff Sessions who today cites President Obama as a reason for opposing trade legislation is the same Jeff Sessions who voted against giving the same authority to George W. Bush in 2002. In other words, this is one more protectionist politician who is indulging in the classic tactic of the anti-trade movement: scare mongering.