TPP Moves Forward In Senate With Fast Track; On To The House

from the but-of-course dept

As was widely expected after last week's vote, the Senate has now voted in favor of fast track for trade agreements (officially "Trade Promotion Authority") after Republican Senators convinced enough of their Democratic counterparts to give up their Constitutional authority in regulating international commerce (yes, you read that right: Republicans who keep complaining about the President taking too much power and not obeying the Constitution, just voted explicitly to give up Constitutional authority to the President of the other party, while most Democrats declined to do so).

Also as expected, all attempts to add amendments to the TPP -- including Elizabeth Warrens' plan to strip corporate sovereignty ISDS provisions -- failed. Any of the amendments almost certainly would have sunk the fast track bill in the House, so they were all basically poison pills designed to kill fast track. Still, it's disappointing that Congress is favoring corporate sovereignty, when it's pretty clear that it's a provision that is going to come back and bite us badly.

Either way, the fight will now move on to the House, where it's not yet clear if there are enough votes. But, don't be surprised to see a full court press to convince another dozen or so Democrats to join with Republicans in coughing up Congress' Constitutional authority over international trade.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2015 @ 6:52pm

    There had to have been an easier way to say it

    Really, would it have been that hard for them to just admit, "This job is too difficult, I can't do it, get someone to replace me"? Going through all the hassle of voting for a bill admitting that they can't, or won't, do their jobs just seems like wasted energy when a simple statement would have done the job.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 7:52pm

    Manipulation

    Is there any chance that this vote is a method for making nice to Obama, for now, and that the intent is to just deny the entire thing when it comes for its up or down vote at approval time?

    I know that politicians are mercenary enough to think up such a tactic, but are they actually willing to do the right thing for the people who are not corporations? Is it actually possible for them to think that far ahead, and in the right direction?

    My argument against the above is...just what do they gain, short term?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2015 @ 8:40pm

      Re: Manipulation

      Not a chance, with how well bought out both parties are, there is no way they'd risk future 'donations' by shooting down the thing if it came to a vote. The only ones thinking about the public are the ones refusing to vote in favor of TPP, every single one voting in favor are thinking only of the money they stand to gain.

      As for what they have to gain? Keeping their owners happy. They know who stands to gain most from the 'trade' agreements(hint: not the public), and they don't want to make any moves suggesting that the ones paying them might have made a poor 'investment' in case it affects future bri- I mean 'donations'.

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

      • identicon
        AI, 23 May 2015 @ 2:23am

        Re: Re: Manipulation

        Some news outlets think it is to make nice with Obama. However, like you said, they'll most likely consider a 'yes' vote when the actual ratification comes in. Either that or the corps + Obama will pressure hard on them like they did with this bill.

        The TPP ratification has a long way to go even if the Fast Track bill makes it into law in early June (in the best scenario). Per the LA Times, if the TPP is finalized by July (also a best scenario), people get 90 days to review it before the president signs. Then, the trade negotiators need to prepare an economic-impact assessment which could take 2-3 months before the actual ratification vote takes place. If that timeline slips, the TPP issue will enter the 2016 elections, something Obama is desperately trying to avoid.

        Per the latest leaks, I don't think the TPP is almost finalized pending Fast Track. I think there are still many unresolved issues that they're trying to hide from us. Each country has a different culture and the TPP is kind of like forcing every country to follow what the US corporations want. The latest IP Chapter shows how polarized the US is compared to the other countries.

        Even if TPP becomes signed and ratified, the last step would be to get other countries to ratify it. Some countries are already showing skepticism in ratifying the treaty and don't forget that other countries are fighting too (Ordinary Japanese people are feeling similar problems too).

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2015 @ 7:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: Manipulation

          The fast track itself is bad and the only thing preventing these bills from getting approved faster is public resistance. The only thing that will stop this bill is public resistance. Politicians really want their corporate kickbacks and our participation is required to stop this. The sooner we can stop this the better.

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

  • identicon
    NeghVar, 22 May 2015 @ 7:58pm

    Constitutional Amendment

    The power shifts taking place here would require constitutional amendments. More than a legislative act or bill and certainly more than a trade agreement that completely bypasses all legal means of making such changes. If us common folk were committing these same acts, we would have been in prison a long time ago.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 9:46pm

      Re: Constitutional Amendment

      Nah. It doesn't require an amendment because Congress still gets to vote the final thing up or down. (That's why the line item veto was unconstitutional - it would have been legal if it had a provision that Congress had to re-pass the edited legislation for it to take effect.)

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

      • identicon
        NeghVar, 22 May 2015 @ 11:35pm

        Re: Re: Constitutional Amendment

        I'm not talking about passing the Fast Track for the TPP. I mean handing over legislative powers to the TPP tribunal, the USTR, FTC, executive branch and the corporate elite. If the TPP is signed, the power of the people is gone. Corporate sovereignty will be granted and any bill or act that is passed, not passed or court ruling that is not in favor of the these international corporate super-powers (ICSP) will violate the treaty and open an "investor state dispute settlement" or ISDS case for the tribunal (3 attorneys elected by the member country's chambers of commerce or equivilant) in which they decide whether or not the court ruling, passed bill or unpassed bill could potentially have detrimental effects on an international corporate super-power's profits. If it is, then the opposite takes effect.

        For instance, in 2018 the CTEA will expire. Disney and other big media and content providers will push to extend copyright terms again. If the new CTEA does not pass, then any ICSP can open an ISDS case against us. The tribunal will likely side with the ICSP and the new CTEA bypasses the legislation and goes straight to the president for signing.

        Now, if the TPP is challenged in a lawsuit or class-action lawsuit as being unconstitutional and the court, even the SCOTUS, deems it unconstitutional. Then, once again, ICSP will open an ISDS case with the tribunal, tribunal will side with the ICSP and that court case is nullified because it could possible harm the financial interests of the ICSP.

        This would apply to all other member countries of the TPP.

        This is just one part of this extremely dangerous trade agreement. Why do you think those interested in the TPP are trying to keep it top secret? Because the power shift is so extreme and going through normal legislative, open to the public methods would kill the TPP because the people of the member countries would be outraged to a whole new level of government hatred.

        So basically, this would grant international corporate super-powers powers above the governments of the member countries. The first major step towards a single new world order and the only way out is a revolution.

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

  • identicon
    David E.H. Smith, 22 May 2015 @ 8:42pm

    TPP & Global Treaties/'Arrangements;

    TPP & Global Treaties/'Arrangements;
    2 Republican Senators Admit that They Have read the TPP.
    Should Congressmen & Parliamentarians Have to Sully Their’ Beliefs’ & Sales Pitches with
    ‘Sordid’ Facts that Come from Actually Reading & Understanding Global Treaties/’Arrangements’?

    TPP & Global Treaties part of corp. US's attempt to Increase $17+ Trillion
    Debt 'Earning$' & to Legitimize Hiding Earning$ in Untouchable Foreign Banks.
    Time to REPATRIATE 'Earnings'; NO FOREIGN Accountants, Banks, services, etc.
    NO Trickle Down from Hiding ‘Earnings’ in Secret Off Shore Accounts.

    Shifting Costs to harmless Non Shareholders to Inflate ‘Profits & Dividends’.
    Is It Time to Cool off the 'Stockbrokers' again; Buy Gold?

    Are TPP & Global Corporate Treaties/’Arrangements more about Tort ‘Abolishment’ than Tort ‘Reform’?

    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?

    Individual States Jump at Opportunity to: Refuse, or, 'Over Charge' Business Licenses, Raise Targeting State Taxes, 'Road' Taxes, etc. to Recoup Global Treaties' Suits (plus Earn Lucrative 'Punitive Damages') from Non Good Corporate Citizens (non-Compliant of 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.

    Will China, Iran, the Muslim World, et al, Support Putin in Suits?
    But, If Not PUTIN; 'The WHITE KNIGHT', then Who Do YOU Want to Bankroll the Saving of the harmless NON shareholders of the World from Fast Tracking TPP's, CETA's (TTIP) Secret 'Death-Star-Chamber' Tribunal Penalties?
    How about Warren Buffett, &/or, the 'coveted' Hong Kong investor, et al?

    ***
    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
    NeghVar, 22 May 2015 @ 11:58pm

    The purpose

    The purpose of this fast track bill is to keep the TPP secret and unchangeable when presented for signing and ratification. When presented to congress, it cannot be amended, filibustered, or shared outside the members of congress. The members of congress will be bound to a yes or no. Thus continuing absolute secrecy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 12:03am

    CYA: Congress can't agree on anything or get anything done, so rather than face reality and admit it, pass it off so that they are no longer required to make decisions - then they can pretend like they are important.

    Yup, that'll fix everything.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 12:05am

    How can people reject this thing?

    Obviously not through their so-called "elected" representatives since most of them only represent campaign donors and are hard of hearing towards everyone else.

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

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 23 May 2015 @ 1:36am

    Democracy? Constitution? You are missing the point: The Senators are not giving up rights or control - they are freeing up their agendas to have more time to talk with 'sponsors' about 'donations'.
    And with many of those 'sponsors' being the very people keen on passing TPP and TTIP with as little debate as possible, they'll be in a good mood for those 'donation' dinners, too. Win-win!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 4:27am

    Whores are better poeple!

    The politicians more devious and morally corrupt, less principal-ed then whores. Even crack whores just want enough for their next hit and meal, pretty simple motives.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 5:41am

      Re: Whores are better poeple!

      Crack whores make a very apt comparison. For politicians, the drug of choice is power, and power costs way more than crack. So when the corporate Johns come calling...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 5:48am

    I think there's an important point missing here. It's not just Congress' authority here, it's also their responsibility. That's the more troubling aspect to me, that they are in effect saying that they don't want to do their jobs and deal with the things that the constitution orders them to deal with.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 6:09am

    We the people have no representation. as long as money is a person and free speech.
    Americas founding fathers would be leading the revolution if they were alive today.

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

  • identicon
    Chapped & Crusty, 23 May 2015 @ 9:38am

    Should 've Invested In Grease

    We won't see anyone up there walking on their hands any time soon. That would be very dangerous.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 10:16am

    So what can we do to stop this thing?

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

    • identicon
      AI, 23 May 2015 @ 2:41pm

      Re:

      1st, we can convince House to say 'No' and not be swayed by Obama and the donations. That's very unlikely, but it's the fastest way to stop it.

      Next, we can convince both Senate and House not to accept TPP (and TTIP) when it comes up for ratification. The Fast Track bill gives the right for Congress to vote a solid 'No'.

      Finally, we can drag on the TPP long enough so that it becomes influenced by the 2016 elections. Even though it isn't as effective as the other 2 options, it has the best chance of success. TPP is already late and there are still hurdles to go through before it gets put up for ratification.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 23 May 2015 @ 11:06am

    When banana republics take foreign loans and spend it on huge penis statues...

    Or drop it in their Swiss bank accounts and move to Uruguay, or spend it all on Columbian pure and high-stakes Baccarat, we invoke a concept called Odious Debt recognizing that the people of the banana republic have been taken by a scamming dictator over whom they've had no control.

    It's one of the arguments about some of the US debt since penis statues (often in the form of questionable military campaigns) abound.

    Here is a situation in which the entire government is pushing to put secret law in place circumventing whatever checks and balances we have left, behaving contrary to the power-grabbing partisanship characteristic of Washington in order to hand tons more power to corporations.

    One might think we should question the vested interests in all the representatives, and the president.

    TPP has smelled odious from the beginning. It's already been leaked to include the SOPA regulations and Corporate Sovereignty. Its secrecy -- and the fact that the people still haven't been allowed to view it at all -- is highly conspicuous and suspect.

    We need to accept that we're about to lose all our remaining rights and become a corporate dictatorship. Or we need to stop this thing from moving forward by force.

    One or the other.

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

  • identicon
    Jim, 23 May 2015 @ 1:30pm

    Amendments

    Other sites have been reporting that there was a human trafficking "poison pill" amendment, that did pass, that would effectively exclude Malaysia from the TPP. This would either (a) create such delays in the legislative process, that passing TPP before the Presidential election would be very difficult, or (b) significantly alter the whole process, since excluding Malaysia, being considered an important signatory, would kill the whole deal. I urge readers to look into this last minute development, as it may be of some import.

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

  • identicon
    The Conscious Catholic, 23 May 2015 @ 4:03pm

    Can we stop being so cynical?

    I swear all this posts goes on saying "we are doomed, we are doomed, we are all doomed." how about instead of going all cynical we can look at this realistically

    1. Democrats want currency manipulation, which the bill has failed to deliver which hurts its chances

    2. a sizable block of Republicans (from the Tea Party) are against it too

    3. Watchdog and Rights groups are going all out on this

    so can we NOT just say we are doomed and sit around and whine all day? It doesn't help the problem at all, in fact it does the opposite.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 6:00pm

      Re: Can we stop being so cynical?

      Who is whining?
      Who says we are doomed? Using the a find tool, the only place in this thread where one finds the word "doomed" is in your post and this response.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2015 @ 4:12pm

    We're on the fast track to ruin.

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 26 May 2015 @ 2:45pm

    So does anyone have a list of the scum that voted for this?

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


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