CORYDON, Iowa –- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Thursday criticized Senate Republicans for voting to approve fast-track trade authority for President Barack Obama, blaming the influence of the "donor class."
“I expect better of the people that we send" to Congress, Huckabee, a 2016 presidential candidate, said during a campaign stop in Corydon, Iowa. "I understand the donor class has pushed them and pushed them to vote for this bill.”
The Senate on Wednesday cleared a bill to give Obama fast-track approval of international trade deals. Fast-track authority would allow the president to submit trade agreements to Congress for an accelerated vote without amendments.
"74 percent of Republicans in America thought it was a bad idea, and most of the Republicans that voted for it, admitted they haven’t read that bill either,” Huckabee told Iowans at a pizzeria.
Huckabee, who traveled to 37 states last year to campaign for Senate Republicans, said it’s time to take a stand against power, money and influence.
“We went out and helped Republicans win in the last election cycle, we sent them to Congress to curtail the executive overreach of this president on issues like immigration and Obamacare,” Huckabee said. “What did our Republicans do this week -- they gave this president more power.”
Huckabee said if he's elected president, he wouldn't seek fast-track authority, pointing out recent trade agreements that have led to the loss of U.S. jobs.
“We have allowed our trade partners to manipulate their currency to dump products into our market place,” he said. “The result is some of your friends, neighbors and family members who have lost jobs in this country, have lost it because we didn’t enforce the trade bills we have, yet we are going to enter into a new one.”
Four Republican Presidential candidates serving in the U.S. Senate participated in the fast-track vote. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) voted against giving the president fast-track authority, while Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) approved it.
Watch Huckabee's remarks above.