Fast Track Bill Back On The... Fast Track After Senate Deal

from the trade-deal-moves-forward dept

This isn't a huge surprise, but after getting rejected on Tuesday, Senators went back into deal-making mode. And, after passing a bill to crack down on currency manipulation, enough Senators who voted no earlier in the week now voted yes to move the fast track ("trade promotion authority") bill forward to a floor debate. That debate should happen next week, and apparently there will be some attempts to add some amendments to improve the fast track bill, though it's unclear if any of those have a legitimate chance of getting in. In short, chances are the fast track bill will pass the Senate next week, meaning that the real question is whether there are enough votes in the House.

The whole thing still seems quite bizarre. You have House and Senate Republicans (the party that regularly insists that it believes in the Constitution as originally written) voting to give up their Constitutional authority to oversee international commercial under the Commerce Clause, and hand it to a President in the opposing party. And, yes, this is the same President that Congressional Republicans are trying to block on almost every other move, and whom they often insist ignores Congressional powers under the Constitution to use powers not granted to the Executive branch under the Constitution. Why would they do that? And, at the same time, most in the President's own party are against doing this.

Again, while I know that many who are opposing the TPP and TTIP are just against trade deals in general, I am generally in favor of good free trade deals. It's just that the TPP is not that. It's barely even a "trade" deal at all. And thus, it's quite bizarre to see the politics of how this has all played out.

Filed Under: congress, fast track, partisan politics, senate, tpa, trade, trade promotion authority


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  • icon
    Peter (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 4:06pm

    Yes, exactly..

    I so much agree with you that it really does not make logical sense... I hate to say it, but I think at least the senate is just plain blind or else worse -- it's either they're completely oblivious to their obligation to uphold the constitution, or their even worse, thinking that it's fine if they do well, and forget about the working people. Either way, it's a crime.

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  • icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 4:13pm

    An old saying comes to mind...

    Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 4:20pm

      An older saying comes to mind...

      There is nothing new under the sun.

      Really... if they don't want the responsibility, maybe they should hand over the senate to someone who does? And by that, I don't mean the executive arm.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 4:24pm

    gotta get Obama?

    There are times I see these people do things that seem so out of touch with reality and so vindictively conniving that I wonder if this isn't one of those - "if we do this and then Obama pushes thru a bad trade bill we can blame him and rake in money from the businesses who benefit because people will never look back and say - wait you were the gatekeepers why did you let this happen?" Sad thing is that they are right. We rarely blame the house or senate in ten years - we blame the administration of that time.

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  • identicon
    Howard, 14 May 2015 @ 4:56pm

    So in theory could citizens sue in like "Citizens vs US Congress" for violation of the Constitution? I mean surely without an amendment they can't give up their rights and powers granted by the constitution. Then again, they all believe it's just a piece of paper and don't follow it anyway.

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    • icon
      ambrellite (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 5:37pm

      Re:

      Technically, they don't give up their authority by giving the president FTA--they just choose to legislate in the most half-assed way imaginable. That's their prerogative, even if it betrays the fact that they simply don't care what's in the TPP. Huge, multinational corporations can reward them immediately, while their constituents won't realize they've been screwed until years later, by which time the consequences can be blamed on the next president and the opposing party. At worst, all they'd have to say is, "Knowing then what we know now, I would have voted differently."

      The worst thing is that there are some representatives who loathe this kind of politics, and feel forced to participate in order to compete against their opposition. The whirlpool of corruption sucks *hard*.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 5:36pm

    Money over hatred

    I believe I've noted it before, but I imagine the biggest reason so many congresscritters who absolutely hate Obama are on his side is because the ones who pay them want this to go through, and hatred doesn't pay the bills.

    They may hate Obama, and love shooting down anything he supports, but they love money more, simple as that.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 6:32pm

      Re: Money over hatred

      There's a video on YouTube of a Congressman at a conservative activist group who decries Obama as being a dictator and is then accosted by a reporter about whether he'd support Fast Track. Not surprisingly he says yes.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 6:59pm

      Re: Money over hatred

      "Cui bono?" really needs to be applied to governments these days at every turn. It's the only way to see through the mud to how decisions are made when both sides are in the pocket of big business.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 7:08pm

        Re: Re: Money over hatred

        This.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 8:05pm

        Re: Re: Money over hatred

        Cui bono?

        Exactly.

        All the double-talk from both parties makes a whole lot more sense when viewed in context of how those that are making these decisions (and their business associates) are financially benefiting. Near perfect sense.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 6:55pm

    There is nothing "bizarre" about this at all

    The political spectrum is not left to right as we've been led to believe. At least not on anything concerning money or power. The only differences the political left and right concern themselves with are wedge issues (e.g., race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and class - but only ever middle/upper-middle class vs. poor - and never the 99% vs. the 1%). In this way they seek to divide us among ourselves.

    The political spectrum is actually top to bottom. This is especially true in the Senate. No wonder they have the deciding vote over the House where the People have at least a modicum of actual representation.

    The plutocrats (i.e., the 1% of the 1%) and their entourage (i.e., the 1%) are at the top of the political spectrum and the rest of us make up the other side of the political spectrum (i.e., the 99% below). This is why we see them so aligned on some issues and not on others.

    Why do they so badly want the TPP if it has little to do with trade? How about this whopper, the TPP gives corporations sovereignty! This gives them the power to sue countries for cutting into perceived future profits just because those countries might try something so bold as to defend the public good from corporate greed. This is insanity for the 99%, but makes perfect sense for the plutocratic interests. And this is why we are seeing the reach across the aisle.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 8:10pm

      Re: There is nothing "bizarre" about this at all

      "The political spectrum is actually top to bottom."

      Interesting way to look at it. What they do does make more sense that way.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 6:56pm

    The Republicans support this for the same reason they support anything else--multinational corporations that want to have the powers of governments support it. If anyone else cared, the bill would wither and die in their obstructionist hands like anything else does. The only reason this is remarkable is that the graft has gone global. After all, why limit yourself to bribes from American companies when you can inspire it from the entire planet?

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  • identicon
    jingoi, 14 May 2015 @ 8:25pm

    What are we supposed to do?
    No, don't say revolution, none of us want to die unless success is absolute. What effective legal actions could one take to add cement bricks and a ocean under tpp?

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

    • icon
      CK20XX (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 8:46pm

      Re:

      Revolutions have already been occurring in bite sizes, in places like Ferguson and Baltimore. They don't start when a people think success is absolute; they start when a people believes it has nothing left to lose.

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

    • icon
      NeghVar (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 11:59pm

      Re: Revolution

      The option before revolution is Article 5 of the Constitution. To hold a Constitutional Convention. 66% of the states must bring forth a proposed amendment to the Constitution. Congress is then obligated to open a session. if 75% of the states agree on the amendment, then it by-passes congress and becomes law. This is the only we we could force term limits on members of congress. They would never slit their own throats.

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  • identicon
    any moose cow word, 14 May 2015 @ 9:05pm

    Republicans uphold their beloved Constitution just as well as they uphold their beloved Bible--they neither read or understand them, yet believe the sacred texts says exactly what their beliefs happen to be.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2015 @ 10:12pm

    It is all a distraction for the public while whoever is running things behind the scenes does what they want anyway.

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

  • icon
    OldGeezer (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 11:49pm

    Congress is supposed to represent the citizens that voted them into office. None of them could possibly be unaware that there is massive public opposition to TPP. Senator Wyden's Facebook page has been flooded with thousands of posts blasting him for his position on TPP and fast track. After his Washington office phone number was posted everywhere he got so many messages against TPP that the number was changed. They backed off SOPA when they realized that it was poison for their career. Why haven't they gotten the message on this? Are they all total slaves to the big cooperations funneling millions to them that they don't care what the voters think? Government of the cooperations, by the cooperations and of the cooperations.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2015 @ 6:35am

    Man, those politicians they bought really are something

    Hopefully this will fail in the house

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2015 @ 11:46am

    'meaning that the real question is whether there are enough votes in the House'

    would have thought it more like 'were there enough honest politicians who haven't been bought in some way or other to change their vote'?

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  • icon
    Alien Rebel (profile), 15 May 2015 @ 4:40pm

    Salesmen

    It's useless to discuss TPP or other trade deals without being familiar with the people doing the moving and shaking, and presenting their claims that TPP will protect the environment or labor rights. Labor? OH, RIGHT- it's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the ALEC and right-to-work supporters, telling me that TPP will be good for labor. USTR Michael Froman (techdirt; 5/6/13) says it won't interfere with U.S. financial regulations. OH, RIGHT, it's former chief of staff to deregulation champion Robert Rubin, Citicorp exec, chief operating officer of Citi Alternative Investments, Michael Froman that's telling me this.


    This calls to mind one of the very basic principles on which our government was founded: MAKE BIG THINGS HARD TO DO. Go to war, amend the constitution, stuff like that. You want me to agree to "Fast Track" something that would likely span the terms of numerous presidents, encompass 40% of global trade, maybe impact a shitload of domestic law? Umm, no. Please, I invite you to kindly STFU.
    --

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2015 @ 12:00am

    I don't see what's so bizarre about it. This is one of the few times we get to see the true colors of bought and paid for politicians.

    The President owes a lot of favors to his campaign donors. Running a presidential race isn't cheap. Republicans have been heavily in the pockets for big corporations for decades.

    The only thing bizarre, is that Democrats are opposing the deal. I still haven't figured that one out, but it may have something to do with the Democratic party being more pro union. Although unions in the United States have been pretty much destroyed by "free trade" deals and "right to work (for less)" laws, that I'm surprised that Democrats are still receiving enough campaign contributions from unions to even care.

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


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