Senate Rejects Fast Track Bill For TPP Agreement: Back To The Drawing Board

from the good-to-see dept

In a somewhat significant procedural move, the Senate failed to move forward on debating "fast track authority" or "trade promotion authority" after the Senate failed to come up with enough votes. The move to hold a debate on the fast track bill needed 60 votes, but only got 52 (with 45 against). Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Senator Ron Wyden -- who had sponsored the fast track bill -- went against it as well, noting that he (and others) needed more promises on other issues before they'd move forward:
Democrats that are supportive of Obama’s trade efforts huddled on Tuesday afternoon to plot their strategy. After nearly an hour, led by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the bloc of about 10 Democrats said McConnell has not offered them sufficient guarantees.

“The group is concerned about the lack of commitment to trade enforcement, which is specifically the customs bill,” Wyden told reporters after the meeting. “Until there is a path to get all four bills passed … we will, certainly most of us, will have to vote no.”
And thus, we have this weird situation, again, where it's basically Republicans pushing for giving up the Senate's Constitutional authority on trade agreements, and handing it to a Democratic President. Either way, today's vote came down to a bit of horse trading:
Democrats want McConnell to package the so-called fast-track Trade Promotion Authority legislation with three other pieces of legislation, including one that would help workers affected by the massive trade agreement and one to crack down on currency manipulation.

But McConnell is refusing to guarantee that TPA, Trade Adjustment Assistance, the African Growth and Opportunity Act and a customs enforcement bill, which includes the currency manipulation provisions, will all be passed as part of a deal to open debate on the trade bill.

The customs provision in particular is viewed as veto-bait for the White House, potentially complicating the trade package’s future if it is approved. The measure could force the administration to designate China as a currency manipulator, which the White House fears would spark a trade war with Beijing.
What happens next, should be interesting. There will likely be a lot more negotiating and some more horse trading, but it seems that Senator Orrin Hatch, who has been the driving force behind the fast track bill, is pretty angry with Wyden for the situation today:
Hatch, though, sounded pessimistic about another round of deal-making with Wyden. A visibility agitated Hatch told reporters that the bill had become a “mess,” adding that he was “through talking.”

“I’ll always be open, but we’ve just been jerked around here too much,” Hatch said. “I expect people to live their word just like I do.”
It still has a chance of things moving forward, but for the moment, the big push to get fast track through in order to allow the TPP agreement to be completed has had to hit the brakes.

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  • icon
    xebikr (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 2:03pm

    “I’ll always be open, but we’ve just been jerked around here too much,” Hatch said. “I expect people to live their word just like I do.”


    Well with the bar set so low, how could people ever fail to meet his expectations?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 2:09pm

    Slight correction

    It still has a chance of things moving forward, but for the moment, the big push to get fast track through in order to allow the TPP agreement to be completed has had to hit the brakes.

    FTA has nothing to do with the 'completion' of TPP, as it can be approved or shot down whether FTA is in play or not. What FTA does do, is make it an all-or-nothing deal, and put pressure on the congresscritters to approve it now, rather than after deliberations and investigation.

    The only way FTA would be 'required' for TPP to pass, is if the agreement is so bad, and/or has so many rotten parts to it, that if the congresscritters were allowed to debate it on it's merits, piece by piece rather than all at once, it would never pass. Of course given this is almost certainly the case, one could argue that FTA is indeed required for TPP to be approved, hence the constant pushes for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 2:23pm

    Hey, Obama - next time you might want to try this little thing called "transparency". I believe it has come up a few times in your presidential campaigns. I don't quite remember who said it, though. Do you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 2:34pm

    For all the wrong reasons

    For all the wrong reasons, this is the best news I've heard today! Ok Barack, it is time to let the American people see what you have been negotiating behind our backs, so we can tell you just how we feel and what we think about it! Fast track? Over my dead body! We have a right to know what you are trying to do in our name!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 4:56pm

      Re: For all the wrong reasons

      "For all the wrong reasons"

      Man, you've got that right. Given how great TD usually is in pointing out the actual reasons these secretive trade deals are so bad for working folks, I'm surprised Masnick didn't call that out explicitly. The legislation these guys are holding out for are tolken guestures at best that do little to address the real problems with the TPP.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 12:28pm

        Nothing to worry about, then

        If the legislation these guys are holding out for are Tolkien gestures, it's for sure his heirs will have it taken down in the blink of an eye.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 2:53pm

    So Obama's best chance of getting this terrible deal through has collapsed. May we hope that it continues to stay that way. Obama has done a lot of shady deals in the backrooms and I hope this one never makes it.

    Attempting to redefine the word transparency and what it means has been a major deal breaker. I think Congress has had enough of that as well, given the hoops they have to go through to read what is clearly the domain of Congress, not the Executive Branch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 3:11pm

    This is payback to McConnell, not a rejection of TPP

    Wyden and other democrats who support TPP voting against this is about giving McConnell a taste of his own medicine, nothing about TPP.

    McConnell held up a vote on Obama's new attorney general for months insisting the senate first pass a totally unrelated human trafficking bill with anti-abortion language in it that democrats didn't like.

    Reid is paying back McConnell for that by demanding a vote on several priorities of democrats (most of them unrelated to TPP) before allowing a vote on TPP.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 3:35pm

      Re: This is payback to McConnell, not a rejection of TPP

      That is true. In fact, the article highlights that this is all backroom dealing. No where does this article claim they rejected the TPP, and the Title states the truth, that they rejected the Fast Track Bill.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 6:23am

        Re: Re: This is payback to McConnell, not a rejection of TPP

        So in short, petty bickering in Senate is the cause for American asses being saved?

        It just re-affirms my thoughts that when everyone in congress agrees on something, then it is damn bad for Americans.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      KRA, 12 May 2015 @ 5:10pm

      Re: This is payback to McConnell, not a rejection of TPP

      I think McConnell will get his payback, but I'm not sure they'd go after Obama to do it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 12 May 2015 @ 3:58pm

    Not dead yet

    Fast track authority is far from dead. It' be back up for a vote, maybe with a few goodies attached (which the TPP could render moot anyway)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vladlagg (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 5:11pm

    voting record

    I know this is dumb, but I am on mobile, and can't seem to locate the voting record for this bill. Help a fella out? One half of my delegation would not tell me how she was going to vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 8:33pm

    The last thing we need is another free exploitation agreement being used for closed door policy laundering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David E.H. Smith, 13 May 2015 @ 12:43am

    TPP & Global Treaties; Time to Repatriate 'Earnings'

    TPP & Global Treaties part of corp. US's attempt to Increase $13+ Trillion Debt 'Earning$' & to Legitimize Hiding 
    Earning$ in Untouchable Foreign Banks.
    Time to Repatriate 'Earnings'; NO FOREIGN Accountants, Banks, services, etc.


    Shifting Costs to harmless Non Shareholders to Inflate ‘Profits & Dividends’.
    Time to Cool off the 'Stockbrokers' again; Buy Gold?
    'Schadenfreude' & the Public; Too 'Unenlightened' to Figure out 'The Global Sleight of Mind' Illusion.
    - David 'Copper' Smith

    Corporate America, Wall St., Congress; Deluded, or, Deluding; 'IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS'?

    Individual States & Provinces Jump at Opportunity to: Refuse, or, 'Over Charge' Business Licenses, Raise Targeting Prov./State Taxes, 'Road' Taxes, etc. to Recoup Global Treaties' Suits (plus Earn Lucrative 'Punitive Damages') from Non Good Corporate Citizens (non-Compliant of Prov./State laws), Associated/Support Corps., Securities Exchanges, et al.

    TPP, TTIP, CETA, et al, Shareholders 'Persona non Grata'; Shareholders' Meetings I.D. Toxic Neighbors, In-laws, et al.

    Global Treaties Not about How Much Trade, but, How to & Who to Trade with to 'Undermine' AIIB. About as Reversible as Wall St.'s 'Derivatives'. How Can You Ensure that their are NO 'Future Considerations' Paid out by TPP, et al, 'Foreign' & Domestic Lobbyists?

    The limited number of direct beneficiaries of the CETA, TPP & the other global treaties (ie. the global corporate leaders & their 'preferred' shareholders), are most desperate to keep from the prying, due diligence eyes of the of the potential global un-preferred shareholders' & the harmless NON shareholders.

    The fact of the matter is, the flurry of global treaties have very little to do with trade. The treaties are about 'preferred' trading partners who are successfully attempting to legitimize for the signatories of the treaty/'Arrangements', settlements of the TPP's 'contrived' disputes, et al, by enabling the parties to alleged 'disputes' to use non adversarial settlements whereby,
    the corporations & preferred shareholders 'merely' shift all of their costs from themselves to the harmless NON shareholder & the un-preferred shareholders, ie. the general public/individual taxpayers.

    These costs include the costs of determining:
    1) which harmless non shareholders will have to pay corporations & some SHAREHOLDERS ('preferred' SHAREHOLDERS) for the corporations' 'mistakes', contrivances, unrealistic, &/or, any expectations, etc.,
    2) how high (win-fall) the punitive penalties, awards, damages, etc. will be
    without the harmless NON shareholder being represented throughout the determination
    of, not, if the NON shareholders are guilty, but, 'merely' how 'guilty' the harmless NON shareholders are with no means/opportunity to appeal the decisions by way of the Treaties' ('Death-Star-Chamber') new superseding, cyber jurisdiction Tribunals,
    &
    3) et al.
    ***
    For Further Information, see,
    'TPP & Global Treaties & Anti AIIB'.
    Also see;
    'The Submission' to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA:
    "The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, Australia, Canada, the EU, et al
    v
    the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al"
    including
    'The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?'
    (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)
    ***
    FULL Article, see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com
    ***
    Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 4:33am

    Presidential Candidates and their Stance/Vote

    Yea: Cruz, Paul (who backtracked on his declaration to vote no)
    Nay: Sanders
    DNV: Rubio (but a likely Yea vote)

    I know Chafee and Huckabee have respectively declared support and opposition to TPP. Hillary keeps hedging...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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