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Democrats In Senate Block TPP Fast-Track Authority For Obama

President Barack Obama’s campaign to give him authority to jam a secretive “trade” deal down Congress’ throat hit a roadblock in the Senate on Tuesday when Democrats refused to vote to cut off debate. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware was the only Democrat to vote in favor of advancing controversial fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Despite claims by White House officials that President Obama is leading “The most transparent administration in history,” the TPP deal has been shrouded in secrecy with a ban on members of Congress speaking about what is in the bill with the public. Members of Congress know that Obama wants fast-track authority so he can negotiate the entire agreement without Congressional amendments then demand Congress pass the agreement or risk hurting the economy.

The con did not work this time. President Obama responded to the defeat by lashing out at his own party and claiming that an economic agreement that would last years and effected numerous countries was “personal.”

President Obama’s dismissive attitude towards TPP opponents within his own party had already been an issue especially concerning his statements on Senator Elizabeth Warren which some claimed were sexist. Obama and his supporters have been waging a full scale campaign against progressive TPP critics in press releases and social media.

For now the campaign seems stalled thanks to the efforts of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown which are prevailing within the Democratic Party. TPP has already been scrutinized by economists as being mostly irrelevant to new job creation leaving the downsides of the bill which will lead to further diminished labor and environment standards, more expansive intellectual property “rights” at the expense of health and innovation, and a surrender of national sovereignty to corporate tribunals.

With Republicans eager to officially turn America over to transnational corporations and the global 1% it seems unlikely that fast-tracking the TPP is completely off the table. The House is set to take up the proposal soon and there is no guarantee that Democrats in the Senate will stay united. TPP is far from dead.

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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.

  • mulp

    Why is this a victory for progressives??

    Do progressives want to block US exports made by US workers while allowing the continued imports with zero or low tariffs with few restrictions on labor and environmental laws??

    Does Warren think Japan will give the US what she wants while she denies them anything because she can get Congress to dictate all sorts of terms favorable to the US and harmul to Japan?

    Or is Warren’s strategy to modify the agreement with Japan so Japan’s legislature rejects it and then Warren can call the Japanese evil gooks to justify a US invasion of Japan to force Japan to accept the terms the US dictates just like Truman did?

    Warren has stated that she knows the deal she votes to approve or reject will not be secret, but simply a take it or leave it deal offered by Japan et al. She is objecting to having to compromise to get the things she wants in a new trade deal.

    She wants to be dictator to the world. But not everyone can be dictator in a world where everyone is equal unless everyone lives in isolation.

  • marym

    What compromising are you talking about? Fast track means
    Congress doesn’t get to amend the bill, so there’s no compromising there. If
    you’re referring to compromising done by the secret negotiators, they consist
    largely of corporate representatives and corporate lobbyists. Whatever deals
    they make among themselves will be in their interests, not those of workers,
    consumers, the environment, laws that don’t serve corporate interests, or democracy.

    Since the proposal is largely secret, whatever you claim are
    the benefits would be based on what? Trust in the people who currently support
    it – a totally corporatist President, his Republican allies, and probably,
    eventually, most of the corporatist Democrats? Trust in the corporations? The
    results of past trade agreements?

    There have been numerous publications of concerns based on known
    portions of the TPP which have been leaked. Instead of muddling remarks about progressives this and progressives
    that, refute those specific issues.

  • Bluedot

    Politico is reporting the Senate has reached a deal to move forward with the bill.

  • Bluedot

    I think the worst part is the loss of sovereignty to corporate interests. In the end that means what they don’t agree with doesn’t count, law or not. I don’t know enough about the expanded intellectual property rights but you can bet it won’t help consumers or workers. It’s sort of secret you know.

  • tetercreek

    Whoever put that vulgar racist tweet at the top of this post needs to get it off there NOW. Some things are not joking matters.

  • marym

    It puts the mad rush to privatize everything that wasn’t already privatized, strengthen existing privatization, gentrify everywhere, sell off public assets in perspective doesn’t it – corporatize everything, then put everything under corporate law that precludes doing anything that would interfere with private profits.

  • Bluedot

    You know it is really hard to respond to you since your issues are not clear. If you could be specific it would help. And this is not what progressives want. It is about a secret bill that will become law before progressives or anyone else has had time discuss it. It is the kind of thing a dictator would do. You know the kind who figure they know what is right for you. Are you happy about that?

  • marym

    Obot accusing TPP opponents of racism, because what else have they got left? Agree – no need to offer a platform to this.

  • Bluedot

    And if some foreign government or corporation wins a big settlement bc it interferes with their profit, our government may have to pay the damages. And any law we have doesn’t count. And if the debt is payable in foreign currency that means we lost monetary sovereignty, kinda like the Weimar Republic or Greece today. And taxpayers have to fund it. Such a deal for the republic of Yemen I suppose. It is all secret so maybe this is all wrong. Gotta trust them.

  • Austin Konrad

    I had a feeling senate dems were just trying to drum up money from wall street with this vote. It’s the same old same old. Dems block legislation that would benefit wall street until they are satisfied they got enough bribe money.

  • dick_c

    Is there anything in this bill that will increase net trade, as oppossed to simply increasing corporate profits? Everything I’ve heard is more about securing special priviledges for multi-nationals over everyone else. The bill doesn’t even adress currency manipulation by China, which by itself would probably do more for our balance of trade than anything else.

    I really doubt Warren has any intention of labeling the Japanese “evil gooks, let alone advocate war. I’m going to guess you might be projecting a bit.

  • Alice X
  • jo6pac

    Nailed it and now that the bribe/cash has been delivered they feel free to club Main Street once again.

    To those of you at FDL working behind the curtain, Thank You for taking out the huge pop-up.

  • marym

    So, basically the D’s are acknowledging that this will be
    bad for workers, but they get to pretend they sort of thought about maybe
    caring for a few minutes.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/senate-democrats-relent-on-obama-trade-bill/393068/

    “Trade Promotion Authority allows the president to negotiate
    agreements that Congress must vote on without amendment. To secure Democratic
    votes, McConnell will combine that bill with a separate measure providing aid
    to workers displaced by foreign trade. Senate Democrats on Tuesday had demanded
    that McConnell package all four bills together, but he refused on the grounds
    that the currency proposal would have sunk the underlying trade legislation in
    the House. Now House Republicans can choose to ignore the currency and Africa
    measures even if they clear the Senate.

    ….

    Democrats will be able to tell their constituents they voted
    to crack down on China, but that bill is unlikely to become law. “

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    If any of these ten DINOs are your’s call them asap….

    Senate Democrats have reversed themselves and reached a deal with
    Republicans to pass TPP. They will vote tomorrow at 12:30. We have less
    than 24 hours to stop TPP! SHARE this
    now and call these 10 Senators and tell them you will vote against any
    member of Congress, Democratic or Republican, that votes to send jobs
    overseas!” http://politi.co/1IBhl8W

    Ron Wyden Oregon 202-224-5244
    Michael Bennet Colorado 202-224-5852
    Maria Cantwell Washington 202-224-3441
    Dianne Feinstein California 202-224-3841
    Claire McCaskill Missouri 202-224-6154
    Patt Murray Washington 202-224-2621
    Bill Nelson Florida 202-224-2023
    Tim Kaine Virginia 202-224-2023
    Heidi Heitkamp North Dakota 202-224-2043

  • nyctuber

    How is it legally/ Constitutionally possible to give away the sovereignty of a Country?

  • http://www.hudechrome.com Lawrence Hudetz

    2 hours later and it is STILL THERE!

    Get a change here at FDL and the vultures come out with this horrifying comment with no compunction.

  • mulp

    Warren and Sanders vote all the time to send a bill to reconciliation committee with the House with instructions for the committee to write a compromise that will go to the House and Senate for a vote WITH NO AMENDMENTS, so every bill that Obama has signed was passed in the House and Senate in a vote with NO AMENDMENTS yet I don’t hear Warren and Sanders out campaign against the rules of Congress.

    The bill that is under consideration is the instructions to the executive for final negotiations on a trade agreement that will be voted on by the Senate and House and the legislatures of the other nations in up or down votes with NO AMENDMENTS.

    If Warren thinks Congress should get to amend the trade deal, then he must also think the other nation’s legislatures get to amend the trade deals as well. Now who will be negotiating the reconciliation of all the different trade bills? A committee formed from members sent from the House, Senate, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc and under rules that say whatever final agreement comes out of that committee will be voted on in up or down votes in the House, Senate, and all the other legislatures WITHOUT AMENDMENT???

    Note the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to negotiate treaties and other agreements with other nations, which might be considered odd given many members of Congress negotiated deals with other nations during the war. When the Constitution was written after two decades of Congress doing everything, did the members of Congress writing the Constitution have reason from experience to put the authority for negotiating the deals with the president???

    And just like all the bills Warren and Sanders vote on, agreements with other nations are compromises hammered out before the up or down vote in Congress WITH NO AMENDMENTS ALLOWED..

  • mulp

    Are you saying that if you drive into Canada through the common border points, the Canadian government can take your car and you should have no way to get it back because for you to use the treaties between US and Canada against Canada to get your car back would be a violation of Canada’s sovereignty?

    Are you saying that US patents and copyrights should not be valid in other nations because for those nations to recognize US patents under international agreements is a violation of their national sovereignty?

    If you write a song or book in the US, you believe that a printer in China should be free to print it and export it for sale in the US without paying you with you having no recourse because to force China to enforce your copyright would be a violation of China’s sovereignty?

    If you argue that your recourse is to have the US government seize books at the border, then you are arguing that if you ship books to China, it is ok with you that they be seized by China and you will be happy to lose the money you paid for the books and shipping because to object would be a violation China’s sovereign right to not follow the rules of the trade agreement you depended on?

    After all, an appeals court took the sovereignty of the CIA to collect data on your phone calls based on the law not allowing it. Many have gone to the European Courts and International Criminal Court to take the sovereignty of the US government. Do you object to those actions because the US government has the sovereign right to grab and transport to gitmo for torture anyone outside the US?

    I find most progressives are just as bad as conservatives in demanding one rule of law for themselves and another rule for everyone else, shopping around different political theories for the theory that gives the right solution, often being for and against the same theory at the same time to get the desired result.

  • marym

    Treaties require 2/3 of the Senate.
    The bills which are reconciled between the House and Senate have already been through publication, debate, and amendment processes among the people who will vote on the final version.
    Still waiting for your explication of what it is about this bill, not treaty, that causes you to fight alongside the corporatists for its acceptance.

  • marym
  • mulp

    How can a secret bill that is being debated on in Congress with Warren criticising the bill openly secret??

    How is a trade agreement that will be published before a vote secret?

    Warren is objecting to Japan not laying out for her the maximum degree of concessions so she can demand they give the maximum while she offers the absolute minimum. Ok, let’s have Warren layout her maximum concessions for Japan before the final deal. She can list every concession she is willing to make in public, and maybe get those concessions included in the instructions to the trade negotiators so Japan won’t need to concede as much.

    If Warren thinks any deal is automatically worse than the status quo, then why is she bothering. She simply gets Democrats and Republicans to vote no on every deal offered, arguing that the current bad trade environment can’t get any better under any circumstances.

  • mulp

    Yes, reductions in tariffs and quotas on goods the US exports to those nations like Japan. US exports cars to Japan, but the number is limited because of high tariffs. The US can export very little rice to Japan because Japan protects its farmers.

    Neither of these changes will force the Japanese to buy US, just like nothing forces you to buy all the stuff imported from Japan which is cheaper and better than what you find made in the US. And Japanese factory workers earn more than US factory workers.

  • Coach Bill

    The “we suck less” party strikes again.

  • Austin Konrad

    This has nothing to do with trade The USA dumped billions of dollars of tax subsidized corn on Mexico putting millions out of work and damn near starting a civil war (Zapatistas) and sent tens of thousands to jobs from the rust belt to Mexico where people work for 10 bucks a day.This has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE
    ECONOMY and everything to do with preserving US hegemony and bumping up
    the profit margins of campaign donors. These countries become our bitch when they can no longer feed themselves because that can not compete with the USA’s tax payer subsidized AG products.

  • marym

    Most people opposing the TPP aren’t saying there should never be any laws among nations. What do you gain by thinking up these absurd examples of nothing? This law is being written in secret by corporate interests on their own behalf, and for their own global empowerment; and will most likely be passed by a Congress and signed by a President who thinks that’s the way to govern – on behalf of corporate profits and power.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Of the 29 chapters only 5 deal with traditional “trade” issues.

    The remainder, as understood via leaks, amounts to a multinational corporate and financial industry coup d’etat.

    Lot’s of links and key issues that should make us want to storm Washington, here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/27/1373697/-Why-are-Only-5-of-TTP-s-29-Chapters-actually-about-Trade#

    Or, Google: TPP, nakedcapitalism, counterpunch, WSWS, etc…

  • mulp

    Yes, call them up and demand that US workers not be allowed to sell cars competitively in Japan, Korea, etc because corporations only profit from what workers make and progressives want workers unemployed and getting welfare to buy imports from Japan, Korea, Vietnam,…

    The status quo of virtually unrestricted imports from Asia into the US and lots of restrictions on exports from the US to Asia must be maintained because the current status quo of factory closings and job losses in the US must be maintained to maximize political fund raising for progressives like Warren and Sanders.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    I find most progressives are just as bad as conservatives in demanding one rule of law for themselves and another rule for everyone else,

    WTF are you on about? Progressive v conservative doesn’t even begin to describe the political-economic spectrum, leave alone within a plutarchy.

  • mulp

    Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution:

    [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…

    You do understand that the American Exceptionalism is bullshit don’t you? The US as a nation is no more superior among nations than you are superior to me.

    Everything is mutual agreement among equals, with disagreements on that principles resolved by war, bombing, killing, etc.

    Just as the US uses laws and courts to force you to observe the laws of the US, international agreements use courts to adjudicate disagreements over laws. When you object to the laws and the courts, the US goes to “war” with you, using force to force you to comply, and likewise, if nations do not comply with courts on trade matters, the result will be “war” of some sort.

    Treaties and other international agreements are “republican” governance just like all the governments of the US are required to be republican government, a requirement of the US Constitution. That means that those governed consent to be governed by an institution defined by rule of law.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Are you the resident Grand Guignol here, mulp?

    Your first para is an attack on NAFTA/CAFTA/CTPA/PNTR, etc.

    In the second one, you are seen swallowing both NAFTA on steroids barrels, TPP/TTIP, and pulling the trigger.

    Get informed, or get your meds, please.

  • marym

    The TPP isn’t a treaty. A fast track trade agreement doesn’t require 2/3 of the Senate, just a majority of the House and Senate.
    The TPP gives multi-national corporations the ability to challenge the laws of the US but not in our courts.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Has mulp arrived on Disqus wings, or has he been part of the fdl “community” before?

    And what happened to the contrarian and radical leftist regulars? Have all of them been banished?

  • Kevin777

    If you’re a working class American here’s a little tip to help yourself determine if an impending piece of “free trade” legislation is to your benefit. If American mega corporations put their blessing behind any proposed trade pact then it’s bad news for the American working class.

    If the TPP is so beneficial to American workers why then all the secrecy behind it?

    In my opinion free trade pacts are designed to allow US tariff duties and regulations removed so US monopolist corporations can have their profits increased at the expense of US wages.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Trade is the least of it. Only 5 of the 29 chapters deal with trade. The rest amount to setting up a corporatist coup d’etat.

  • mulp

    Yeah, forcing workers to work to get paid instead of getting welfare is bad for workers…

    “Currency manipulation” is when you vote for a government that does not tax you high enough to pay for everything government does so that China can lend money to the US government which ensures that China does not cause deflation in the US by selling more to Americans than Americans sell to China which would make China’s exports to the US more expensive.

    If Americans refused to borrow money to buy stuff and instead waited until they had earned enough to pay cash, then China would not be able to sell to Americans stuff until Americans had earned enough by selling globally to pay for the stuff they buy globally. Or at least, make sure Americans borrow only from Americans by joining credit unions that only lend money of savers who are members of the credit union.

    And nothing forces any American to buy imported goods other than greed on the part of American consumers. If you buy gasoline for your car, you are greedy because you are buying imported oil that is paid for by debt, not with goods made by American workers. You could buy a Tesla Model S with is American Made for the most part and becoming more American Made in a few years, and fill it up with electricity that is 100% American Made. But you would rather buy more imported clothes rather than sacrifice and buy a car for about three times the price of cars that are pretty much all made with imported parts. You are greedy.

    If you buy clothes off the rack, you are greedily buying imports, unless you buy the 2% of American Made clothing sold in the USA. And if American Made is too expensive, buy fabric which the US is a global manufacturing leader, and make your own clothes. And US imports are funded by money borrowed by Americans from overseas which keeps exchange rates fixed to reduce the price of US imports. Japanese workers save huge amounts and buy Japanese government debt and then buy US government debt which ensures the exchange rates in favor of more exports than imports.

    The US was an exporter or had balanced trade before 1980 because Americans borrowed a lot less either personally or publicly in government. Tax cuts only create debt and lead to killing American jobs.

  • marym

    They’re not forcing workers to get paid. They’re putting workers out of work, like all past trade deals, and pretending to offer them training for non-existent different jobs. I buy only made in USA clothing, and household goods from small to large, and take public transportation.
    You are arguing on behalf of an agreement designed by and for predator corporations which are destroying economies, representative government, the environments around the world. Why?

  • nyctuber

    That says nothing regarding a trade agreement trumping the Constitution/ sovereignty.

  • marym

    I didn’t find fdl till 2009, or comment till 2011. mulp’s been around all that time, I think. There was some banning, but a lot of really smart interesting people have drifted away. Among those that gave reasons some thought the site was too Dem, some not enough, so go figure. Hoping as the system gets stabilized and gets more functionality like diaries that there will be some sort of outreach.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Thanks, marym.

    If you don’t mind, where on the political spectrum, IYO, does FDL alight?

  • Michael Cavlan RN

    aprescoup

    well howdy doody. Looks like I am back. Grin. How are ya?

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Hoping that we’ll get a chance to post diaries as well… So far so-so thin on familiar names 😉

    How long till your book is finished, Michael?

  • Kevin777

    You have it backwards I’m afraid, the trade deficit has swelled ever since the US started to dismantle it’s protectionist barriers back in the seventies. Free trade is not about helping US exports, free trade is all about the corporate quest for cheap slave labor wages.

    You see wages are rising in China so offshoring US labor there is not as profitable for the oligarchs as it was fifteen years ago when they lobbied China into the WTO. Vietnam is the US capitalist overlords new dream destination to send US manufacturing jobs to, they want that low waged slave labor that Vietnam provides in spades, along with lax workers rights.

  • real american

    We need to stop this choke hold to the American people and the jobs we lose. Stop killing american people and stop this bill congress, quick messing around