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Delay Could Sink Fast Track, But Corporate ‘Arm-Twisting’ Not Over Yet

“I will continue to vote against Trade Promotion Authority until the Trans-Pacific Partnership is fixed,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), above, declared on Monday. (Photo: Center for American Progress/flickr/cc)

“The delay shows that there is not Congressional will to walk the plank for a corporate trade agenda that is reviled by the voters.”

By Deirdre Fulton

While House Republicans and the White House consider their options for reviving failed Fast Track legislation, civil society groups are heralding the delay as a sign of the measure’s imminent defeat.

A trade package including Fast Track failed to pass the House on Friday. Now, according to news reports, Obama administration officials and lawmakers are considering “a list of complicated procedural options that could circumvent House Democratic opposition” in favor of Fast Track. But, as stakeholders on both sides of the issue have acknowledged over the past few days, the setback could spell doom for Fast Track and the corporate-backed trade deals the authority is designed to promote.

To buy more time, House Republicans on Monday night extended—to July 30—the possibility for the chamber to vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) again. Overwhelming opposition to TAA is what derailed the Fast Track trade package in the House last week.

“The corporate trade agenda is stalled in Congress,” said Patrick Woodall, research director and senior policy advocate for Food & Water Watch. “By extending the re-vote period by six weeks, the GOP leadership and the White House gave themselves time to work their parliamentary witchcraft, arm-twisting and gift-giving to cajole Congress into caving into the corporate trade agenda. But the delay shows that there is not Congressional will to walk the plank for a corporate trade agenda that is reviled by the voters. Congress is listening to the public and recognizes the TPP and other trade deals pose genuine risks to consumers, workers and the environment.”

Fast Track, or trade promotion authority, would hand over the power to negotiate international trade deals to President Barack Obama, reducing Congress’s say on such mammoth agreements to an up-or-down vote. Environmental, public health, and digital rights groups say Fast Track would weaken democracy and eliminate congressional oversight of critical details included in the trade agreements, while increasing global corporate influence.

With such criticisms in mind, the AFL-CIO is thanking Democratic lawmakers who stood with organized labor in blocking the Fast Track trade deal in the House last week. “Thank you for standing with working families,” the ads state, featuring photos of the lawmakers. The labor federation, along with climate, public health, and digital rights groups, is also urging members to call their representatives to “ask him or her to hold the line on the next Fast Track vote and say NO.”

Because, as Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) put it in a piece published at Medium on Monday, “My colleagues and I who voted against Trade Promotion Authority are not isolationists. We’re not against trade. We understand we live in a global economy. Many members of Congress have proposed models for fair trade deals that can’t even get a debate or a vote in the Congress. But the newest trade proposal before us, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), repeats the harmful practices of past deals. It contains specific threats to working people. I will continue to vote against Trade Promotion Authority until the Trans-Pacific Partnership is fixed.”

According to Ellison, lawmakers should ask themselves the following questions before voting on Fast Track:

-Does the proposed deal help or hurt Americans who work hard every day to make ends meet?

-Does the proposed deal bring back jobs to communities like Baltimore, Flint, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Oakland?

-Does the proposed deal ask our partner nations to stop jailing labor organizers; to stop human trafficking; to raise environmental protections?

Ellison concluded: “If the answer to these questions is no — I think it is a resounding no — then we should vote no.”

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CTuttle

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    Here’s Cenk on the the initial vote…

    https://youtu.be/3-RkhBwfaW4

  • Chris Maukonen

    The closer it gets to 2016, the less likely it will pass or even get voted on again.

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    Something Dday had alluded to in his Salon article, cmk…! 😉

  • Chris Maukonen

    Our congress critters are a lot of things, most of them unpleasant. But one thing they certainly are not is suicidal.

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    *heh* Both the Tea Baggers and the ‘progressive’ Dims realize they’ll face primary foes if they cave..! 😉

  • jo6pac

    Cenk is wrong, 0 has never cared about Main Street he will be only help the his puppet masters. It is sad to see sad to see Cenk to come to this. He does do a good job at that the end to explain the problem. It took to long

  • jo6pac

    Yes they are do to the fact if they vote for this the will be rewarded even if voted out of office. They main theme is if it does pass there will be no need of K street then again those that served at lest a few terms will have the best health care and pension and us on Main Street 0.

  • American

    Every one of them who votes for this treason is putting their seat on the line.
    They are acting like they never heard of Eric Cantor.

  • Screwtape

    Just a hunch. . . They don’t vote on this until 2016 lame duck. Then, watch out!

  • Debbie Lusignan
  • John Smith

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that Obama has helped the middle class or the poor only when it suits corporations or the rich to make a lot of money. If they didn’t stand to make any gains Obama wouldn’t push for the policy.

  • Alice X

    As LBJ famously said you can’t shine a cow patty.

    But you can put it in a nice box with a pretty ribbon around. Just as long as nobody gets to look at it you can call it solid gold.

    That’s why Obama had this shit sandwich classified. If we had gotten a look at it there would be a revolution.

    They’ll be back.

    Ellison and many others are asking the wrong questions.

    The ISDS provisions for exclusive and non reviewable or appealable corporate tribunal resolution to disputes is effectively a Corporate Coup d’Etat. The Corporations can sue the Nations but not the other way around.

    The question should be: why do we need it? The answer is we don’t.

    Without fast-track they still can bring it before congress. They can declassify and deal with it then.

    But it is a Treaty and it should be 2/3 of the Senate in any event.

    ——-

    You can look up your congress critter below

    TAA 126 – 302

    Republican
    86 158 2
    Democratic
    40 144 4

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll361.xml

    TSA 219-211

    Republican
    191 54 not voting 1
    Democratic
    28 157 not voting 3

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll362.xml

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    I doubt it can be strung-out that long, screwtape…!

  • Alice X

    And then there is this:

    House Republican leaders zero in on new trade strategy

    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/trade/245227-gop-zeroes-in-on-new-trade-strategy

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    I should add that my two House critters, Tulsi Gabbard and Mark Takai, have no desire to switch their Nay votes, on both the TAA and TPA…! 😉

    It was refreshing to see Honolulu’s main paper(vitually the only, under the massive media consolidation!) immediately praise them for their principled stances…! 😉

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    But, Alice, if they do try to pursue standalone without the TAA, the Senate has to agree to it…! As Dday noted…

    -Pass a separate standalone fast track bill. Just the threat of this,
    leaving Democrats with the President’s trade authority in place and no
    TAA, might be enough to get TAA passed. But it shouldn’t be. Just
    because 219 members voted for fast track on a meaningless vote today
    doesn’t mean they would be there on a standalone vote. Also, there is no
    way the Senate would concur on a fast-track trade bill without TAA:
    that would lose too many Democratic votes to pass. So this seems like an
    idle threat. Mitch McConnell could pass fast track with a promise to
    pass TAA later, but he’s already done that gambit once, getting fast
    track forward with a promise of a vote on reauthorizing the
    Export-Import Bank. That promise has been broken, and there’s no reason
    for Senators to believe McConnell again.

  • Michael Cavlan RN

    Oh my Dear Gawd.

    So here is a heads up to those who understand that the current two party system is a fraud. The “Veal Pen” to stop actual progressives from organizing.

    Congressman Keith Ellison is “my” Congressman. He is also the co-chair of the “Progressive” Congressional Caucus. here is some news that you will NOT hear at most “progressive” sites (folks with these kinds of facts tend to “disappear.”)

    Congressman Keith Ellison KNEW about the TPP years ago. A Federal Whistleblower told him about it. that Federal Whistleblower’s name is Mark Novitsky. Yet Ellison said and did NOTHING. For YEARS. Then when it was too late to effectively organize- he started to speak out on it. For the sake of transparency- I ran against Keith- as an Independent Progressive with close ties to the Green Party. Yet Keith Ellison REFUSED to debate. here is video of me challenging him to debate. One of the topics I wanted to debate him on was this very point. Along with Democratic party complicity in the Bush Administration War Crimes.

    take it or leave it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HLaMSdxq4E

  • Michael Cavlan RN
  • Alice X

    I was just offering the link.

    There were points I disagreed with Dayen on. I am out of time today.

    But before I flop, the basic question is why is everyone talking about passing fast-track?

    Because that way they can better conceal what a piece of shit it is.

    All the wrong questions.

  • caleb36

    There is a history in Congress of members initially voting against harmful legislation designed to benefit the 0.01% and screw the rest of us, and then reversing themselves on a second vote and allowing the legislation to pass. This happened in the U.S. House on the TARP bailout bill in 2008, and it happened this year in the Senate on TPP. But this time may be different. The proponents of TPP have, at least so far, been unable to recover from their earlier defeat in the House. At the very least, this is by far the hardest time the 0.01% have had in enacting their legislation. The balance of forces in this country really does appear to be shifting. Penumbras of Occupy.

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Now is the time to hound Hillary on disavowing Obamatrad. Six weeks pushes everything closer to campaign time. She can’t be allowed to kick the can down the road

    Obama and Boehner together forever.

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    TARP lead to the Tea Party wing who voted with Dems against TAA for their own reasons

    Strange bedfellows

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    She called it the Gold Standard of trade deals

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    End of generic prescriptions. End of Medicare. End of freedom of the Internet. All for Obama’s legacy since Obamacare has turned into a cruel joke

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Grand Bargain for infrastructure pork bill. Dec. 2016

  • Bluedot

    She is good at side stepping responsibility for anything, like she says listen to Pelosi. She won’t take a stand.

  • Bluedot

    ISDS could be a violation of the constitution. It means our laws don’t count when it comes to profits.

  • Zak Browne

    Where I have difficulty with the way the thing went is why Democrats didn’t say to the administration “Look, my vote is no unless it can be done in the open”. At the end we wound up in the same place. By saying “no” at the very beginning, they would have forced the opening of the process. They could have negotiated with the administration to open things up. Instead, they went along, and wound up with a train wreck. Obviously, TPP is a steaming pile of shit, but it could have been scuttled much earlier.

  • Zak Browne

    And these Congressmen are too dumb to be in their office. Don’t they realize that the last election decimated the centrist wing of the Democratic party? Why? Because these people might as well be Republicans, there is no reason to vote for them. At least if they were Republicans they would be honest as to what they stand for. So all of them should be subjected to primaries. And the sooner the Democratic party gets rid of them, the better it will be overall for the party. It will be stand for something, differentiate itself, instead of being Rep. light. Unions are trying to do the right thing, but I think what’s also needed is pressure from the caucus. These people are too dumb to realize that they are part of the same country, and interest of the country must come before their own narrow interests.

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    @AliceX.

    You posted something on Obamatrade that very few others have pointed out in the back and forth on the TAA vote: Excluding countries (Maylaysia) trafficking in slave labor. A black president for slavery. How twisted it has become in this country?

    Well, buckle up: Hillary is for “slavery” too. If you want to work for Her Majesty, you have to do it for free

    All that foundation cash is for her and Bill. NOT the campaign. What a racket

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-16/free-labor-or-slave-labor-hillarys-unpaid-intern-hypocrisy

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    She’s got quite a record to pick apart. Unlike Peace Prize in 2008. Everyone loved him because he hadn’t done anything. So nothing to “judge”.

    Empress Inevitable has more baggage than Paris Hilton flying to Ibiza

  • Zak Browne

    Some Dem Senators are feeling weak in the knees. Patty Murray I think is itching to vote for TPA. But she also want EXIM Bank. So to her, and people like her, it should be made clear that giving her what she wants will require she that she votes against TPA. I am sure leaders in both houses know how to strong arm members, I just wish Reid and Pelosi used their power to force the traitors back into the fold.

  • mulp

    “Does the proposed deal bring back jobs to communities like Baltimore, Flint, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Oakland?”

    How can any trade deal “bring back jobs”?

    How about creating new jobs building electric cars like Elon Musk has with Tesla Motors? Oh, but it is a bad thing to protect IP which is created by the workers at Tesla like the design of power control systems, or even protect the brand Tesla Motors because it is unfair to workers to allow Tesla to sue Chinese companies cloning the Tesla Roadster and thanks to Chinese government funding setup a factory in Vietnam to export them to the US or at least to Japan and the EU.

    Bankrupting Elon Musk by driving Tesla Motors out of business is good for American workers, obviously…

    By the way, how many US auto factories have the UAW built in the US?

    How many programmer job classifications does the UAW have?

    How many welding technologist job classifications does the UAW have?

    I have no objections to workers organizing, but a lot of workers I know organized to start their own companies. Workers frustrated that their employer was not changing fast enough united and built their own companies.

    The UAW and AFL-CIO if they had their way would have us living like they do in Cuba, driving the same cars we see in all the news reports making sure to show the US cars from the 50s. The unions have generally opposed environmental regulations, arguing that the US must pollute the air and water to compete with Asia and Europe. Except, the real competitors from Europe and Asia have much higher environmental standards than the US. The UAW opposed much higher taxes on fossil fuels, but the fuel taxes in Europe and Japan are much higher, and the places like Saudi Arabia where gasoline is subsidized makes no cars at all and millions of people are unemployed. so cheap energy does not create jobs.

    The establishment unions did not support Cesar Chavez and the farm workers – the Teamsters sided with the growers against the workers and the UFW.

    The way to support farm workers would be for workers to stop buying non-union farm produce by buying in season from local farmers or growing your own farm fresh food until the markets and fast food joints are selling only UFW produce. That would mean paying 2 to 3 times as much for fresh produce, because workers are not paid by the corporations, but by the consumers. If you think growing food is easy and does not require lots of capital, then grow your own food. What, no land? Isn’t land free, or why do you need land to grow food?

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Mulp’s mileage will vary. But this is why the only hope for the 99ers is if the Democratic Party goes the way of the Whigs in 2016.

    If they insist on running more Hill-sterity thinking we won’t notice it is moldy O-sterity, that could happen!

    Corporate Dems and gelded Progtards. We need a new People’s Party!

  • mulp

    How much closer to tax funded single payer health care has the nation moved since 2010?

    How much closer to higher gas taxes to fund the trillions of spending on transportation infrastructure has not voting for Democrats moved the nation?

    How much progress has been made toward making gasoline and heating oil cost $10 a gallon from a carbon tax by not voting for Democrats?

    To argue that Democrats with only 57 Democratic members of the Senate did not go as far as LBJ or FDR might have with 67 to 80 Democratic Senators so the solution is fewer Democrats in the Senate is an insane argument worthy of a 3 year old toddler flopped down on the floor screaming and pounding the floor because you were denied an ice cream cone before dinner.

  • Michael Cavlan RN

    Zac

    here is a great wee song- I think of “progressive” Democrats like Ellison and the Veal Pen with this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNq_nTUwcCg

  • PCM

    I’m confused. You do know what state Patty Murray is from, right? She already did vote for TPA the first time round. (I checked the rollcall.) Did you mean if and when it comes back again shorn of the TAA tie-in? Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both want the whole enchilada: TPA, TPP, TTIP, and TISA. Jim McDermott wants it, too, but he had to make an interim gesture of showing he cares about democracy and the little people. Murray and Cantwell don’t even bother. They just keep repeating that “trade is good for Washington,” like thousands of H-1B workers are good for tech employment… Trust me, they know who the 800-pound gorillas are in this state.

  • Michael Cavlan RN

    Mulp

    Glad you mentioned Single Payer. In VERMONT there was a Democratic Party Governor candidate- Peter Shumlin who ran for office on the Single Payer issue. Yet once he won- his very first act was to take Single Payer off the table. that is what we get for trusting what ANY Democratic party candidate with ties to the leadership says. They lie. Plain and simple. I also remember a certain Vermont Senator who claims to support Single Payer. yet has been deadly quiet on how the VERMONT Governor- his own state- stabbed the Single Payer movement in the back.

    Quite frankly, unless and until we proggies develop our own spine and organize OUTSIDE of the two party Kabuki Theater charade, the Veal Pen- we have lost the right to complain about the series of betrayals of the very people we support, help and vote for.

  • PCM

    The Congressional “Progressive” Caucus showed its true colors when every last one of its members stabbed their pro-single-payer constituents in the back and voted for the Patient Protection Racket and Unaffordable Care Act.