By Simon Johnson
At today’s daily briefing, White House spokesman Josh Earnest communicated the president’s threat to veto any trade promotion authority (TPA) that “could undermine the independence or ability of the Federal Reserve to make monetary policy decisions”. (The question was posed at minute 42:50, Mr. Earnest’s answer starts at 43:31, and the lead up to this quote starts around 45:20.)
Mr. Earnest’s statement seems clear enough, but what potential TPA is he talking about? Either the White House is confused or some other communications strategy is at work here. Either way, Mr. Earnest is describing some imaginary version of TPA that is simply not on the congressional table.
He most certainly cannot be accurately describing the bipartisan Portman-Stabenow amendment, currently before the Senate. This amendment specifically goes out of its way to state that it would not “restrict the exercise of domestic monetary policy.”