This week, we'll see Congress vote on three so-called "trade agreements." Did you ever wonder why they call them "trade agreements"? So that they don't have to call them what they actually are -- treaties.
Under our Constitution, a "Bill" requires the approval of a majority of both Houses of Congress and the president's assent, or an override of the president's veto. But under Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, a "Treaty" requires "the Advice and Consent of the Senate ... provided two thirds of the Senators present concur."
The Powers That Be know that these "trade agreements" couldn't get the support of two-thirds of the Senate. In fact, they probably couldn't get past a filibuster. So they just renamed them. They're not treaties, they're just "trade agreements."
But they sure look like treaties, don't they? They are agreements between our government and a foreign government. That's a treaty.
If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck ... and it quacks ... it's a duck.
But they don't care. They can't get the two-thirds that they need in the Senate, so they'll just pretend that they don't need it.
And the "fast track" treatment of these "trade agreements," which thankfully expired in 2007? Also unconstitutional. That's one Congress (the 93rd Congress, for those who are keeping score) purporting to dictate procedures and rules to subsequent Congresses. You can't do that, according to Article I, Section 5 of the aforesaid U.S. Constitution.
So here we are in this mad rush to serve Mammon, not only shoveling jobs overseas, but trampling on our Constitution while we do it.
I hope that when the Panama, Colombia and South Korea "trade agreements" come before the House and the Senate this week, at least one Member of Congress (Dennis Kucinich, maybe? Ron Paul, maybe?) has the guts to stand up and say, "point of order, for the Chair. These bills are not properly before the House, and they require they concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate. I REQUEST A RULING BY THE CHAIR."
Let's see what the Parliamentarians say. If they end the charade, then it's over. And if they go along with the charade, then let's have a vote.
I just hope that if such a vote does take place, that every Member of Congress remembers that he or she swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Not the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Follow Rep. Alan Grayson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alangrayson