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TPP Fast-track Deal Reached In Congress

Senators Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden along with House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan agreed on Thursday to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. TPP has vigorous opposition within the Democratic Party and Obama will need to rely on Republican support to move the deal forward.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s support was key and reportedly contingent on there being a provision in the deal that would make the final agreement open to public comment and a delayed Congressional vote. But given the power of Big Business in Washington the Wyden provisions appear more to be in the realm of face-saving than anything else. Wyden stated in a press release that he believed his state of Oregon would benefit from a new trade deal with Asia.

But whether Wyden’s capitulation to corporate interests will be the norm remains to be seen.

Even with the concessions, many Democrats sound determined to oppose the president. Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, condemned the bill as “a major step backward.”  

The A.F.L.-C.I.O. and virtually every major union — convinced that trade promotion authority will ease passage of trade deals that will cost jobs and depress already stagnant wages — have vowed a fierce fight. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. announced a “massive” six-figure advertising campaign to pressure 16 selected senators and 36 House members to oppose fast-track authority. “We can’t afford to pass fast track, which would lead to more lost jobs and lower wages,” said Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “We want Congress to keep its leverage over trade negotiations — not rubber-stamp a deal that delivers profits for global corporations, but not good jobs for working people.”

TPP has already been exposed as being an attack on American sovereignty with little to nothing for workers. After NAFTA and other trade deals have destroyed American manufacturing and failed to produce jobs there is little reason for unions or workers to play the fool.

TPP may also become an issue in the 2016 with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio already calling on Hillary Clinton to offer her position on the the agreement.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.