If you listen to critics of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) you would believe that Congress is recklessly ceding its authority over secret trade deals to President Obama. But the truth is, TPA provides more, not less Congressional oversight and public visibility over the approval of future trade agreements.

TPA does not give new authority to Obama. The executive branch already has the ability to negotiate trade agreements with or without TPA. Despite the last iteration of TPA lapsing in 2007, the current administration has been negotiating several trade agreements. In fact, the Obama administration currently has very few limitations negotiating trade agreements without TPA.

But if TPA is in place, the President will be bound by almost 150 negotiating objectives and guidelines when negotiating any agreement. If the administration negotiates a trade agreement that does not meet these guidelines, Congress can say no.

If a member of Congress votes for TPA, he or she is not approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or any future trade agreement. They are simply setting the guidelines for how these agreements are negotiated. Each and every member will have the opportunity to vote on trade agreements in the future, with or without TPA.

In addition, TPA provides Congress with numerous new oversight tools that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The legislation establishes Congressional consultation and access to information requirements that the US Trade Representative must follow throughout the entire process. It also creates advisory groups to oversee negotiations and ensure the compliance and enforcement of trade provisions.

Not only does TPA grant Congress greater oversight over trade, it also increases public visibility. TPA requires Obama to make a completed agreement public for at least 60 days before he signs it. It also requires the President to submit the full legal text of an agreement to Congress 30 days before the submitting the actual legislation.

Even with these oversight and accountability provisions within TPA, critics point to the fact that the legislation removes the ability of members of Congress to offer amendments to trade deals as “evidence” that this bill is reckless. But having 535 negotiators, each with their own objectives and the ability to modify an agreement does not work. Without this provision, the US is an almost impossible partner to negotiate agreements with because Congress can continually amend an already completed agreement.

The fact is, TPA makes trade agreements more transparent than ever. This legislation not only provides the public with greater information on future deals, but Congress will more opportunities to perform oversight.