From the Editor: As part of his multi-instalment series covering the intricacies of the upcoming presidential election in the United States, SAS catalyst candidate and guest contributor to The Eye, Allen Wang, will be maintaining this featured column: POTUS POLITICS 2016. This is a continuation of Allen’s first investigation into the specific case of Houstonian voting. As with all articles in The Eye, we welcome your feedback, opposing viewpoints, or commentary in the “Reply” section at the end of this piece.
Michael McCaul is the incumbent candidate in the 2016 Texan District 10 Election for the House of Representatives. A lot of us at school are from Houston, Texas, so I decided to provide some scrutiny and insight on the voting record of the man who’s been representing our district since 2005.
Here are a few more takeaways from his voting record I personally find significant:
McCaul voted for the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) measure in the 2015 Trade Act, which allows the President to “fast-track” trade deals sent to Congress. This means that there is no opportunity for amendment or filibuster on the bill.
This might be worrying for the passage of a deal like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which has gathered a lot of controversy regarding loose protections for American import quality and measures for corporations to sue foreign governments if said governments levy a regulation that interfere with “expected loss of profit.” Phil Morris, a cigarette company, did this with Australia after the country passed plain packaging laws. Then again, the TPP is a trade deal that will for sure bolster the world and America’s GDP; it covers 40% of the global economy.
He also voted against the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) measure in the 2015 Trade Act – a federal program that would’ve provided workers, displaced by foreign trade agreements, with job training and services. In 2007, he voted against workers’ assistances on losing jobs because of globalization.
Now, this doesn’t mean he’s opposed to helping people get back on their feet; according to the Wall Street Journal, TAA measures may not be the best way to help the unemployed:
“Several studies have found mixed results for TAA. A comprehensive evaluation completed in 2012 measured workers who took TAA against those who took standard unemployment benefits.
The study found that workers who took TAA benefits had lower earnings than those who took regular unemployment benefits. At the same time, it looked at two different types of TAA beneficiaries—those who received unemployment insurance while completing job retraining and those who received only the unemployment benefits. It found that those who didn’t enroll in job training fared much worse than those who did.”
Something that can explain these unsatisfactory results is that retraining someone who has been displaced by the global economy. TAA participants usually end up back in secondary or service sector jobs – the very jobs that were displaced by trade deals in the first place.
Like any conservative, he has voted against the Iran Nuclear Deal.
He has stated that the incremental withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan “poses considerable risks to the national security of the U.S,” saying that the Taliban controls more territory in Afghanistan than at any time since 2001.
Worry about an Islamist, terrorist resurgence in the regions of ex-American involvement isn’t completely unfounded; take ISIS as an example. This isn’t to say that the USA hasn’t been successful in quelling such resurgence movements (we’ve done a lot to attack ISIS), but this could be worrying as our rivals could try filling the heavy-military-involvement vacuum like Russia did in Syria. Plus, the Taliban are controlling more districts than they have in 2009; whether or not re-involvement or maintaining troops is a good idea depends on your preference.
McCaul voted for the infamous 2013 CISPA bill (2013), which passed and permits federal intelligence agencies to share and gather intelligence and information with private companies like Facebook and Microsoft.
He also voted for the FREEDOM Act – the renewed PATRIOT Act which authorizes the NSA to collect metadata on all Americans in bulk. The FREEDOM Act is different from the PATRIOT Act in that “It would create a new opportunity for civil liberties defenders to lobby the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and force the government to declassify major new opinions from FISC judges.” However, if one is opposed to the PATRIOT Act and metadata collection in the first place, the FREEDOM Act isn’t good news.
I hope these quick analyses on what are hot-button issues for anti-establishmentarian interest groups, which youth, like you and I, usually affiliate ourselves with, are for our understanding of this Congressman.