No, FDR did not create Fast Track trade authority. And, JFK did not celebrate its renewal. This is just another lie -- a revisionist history -- perpetrated by corporatists in 2016.
Invoking those Democratic icons is an interesting strategy, given that a sizable bloc of House GOP members oppose giving President Obama Fast Track. The extraordinary authority, which Congress has refused to delegate for 15 of the past 20 years, let a president negotiate and sign a “trade” pact before Congress approved it and guaranteed a no-amendments vote in 90 days regardless of whether the pact met Congress’ objectives.
But maybe the target audience was House Democrats, given that only seven of the Democratic representatives have announced support for legislation introduced early this year to revive the old Fast Track mechanism.
In his speech, Froman noted the 80th anniversary of the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act (RTAA) of 1934 and declared that the trade authority it established was an antecedent of Fast Track, and that it was used by the Roosevelt administration, renewed 11 times by 1962 and toasted by President Kennedy.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp echoed Froman’s insinuations about Fast Track: “every president, until now, has partnered with Congress to have this powerful tool to negotiate the best possible trade deals for America.” The talking point is also favored by the Business Roundtable and other corporate groups of the Trade Benefits America Coalition: “Trade Promotion Authority is a partnership between the President and Congress…Since the 1930's, such authority has been critical to the opening of new markets…”
Except, in fact, Fast Track was first hatched by Richard Nixon, not FDR. And it only went into effect in the 1970s, not the 1930s.