Senate Flushes Fast-Track

As if either President Obama or Hillary Clinton needed a reminder that the most powerful person in the Democratic Party is now Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth “I’m a Cherokee” Warren, on Tuesday Senate Democrats followed the lead of the scourge of capitalism by filibustering “fast-track” trade promotion authority (“TPA”) legislation designed to allow the Obama administration to negotiate and more easily enact international trade agreements, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) which would liberalize trade between the United States and eleven Asia-Pacific region nations.

Both the policy and the politics are complex.

Left-wing groups including labor unions and environmentalists oppose most free trade treaties, particularly with developing nations, the former arguing that it leads to moving American jobs overseas and the latter demanding more protections for air and water along with provisions aimed at combatting so-called climate change.  (They seem not to recognize that the best way to minimize a nation’s likelihood to pollute – not that carbon dioxide is pollution – is by that nation becoming wealthier, something that free trade helps them do.)

A few conservative groups oppose TPA as unconstitutional, perhaps also looking for an excuse to deny President Obama a victory of any sort – a laudable sentiment if the cost were not so high.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) – historically a supporter of free trade – offered a list of critiques of fast-track including its circumventing the Senate’s constitutional authority over treaty ratification.

Sessions has other concerns, including perhaps the most important criticism of the TPP (which TPA would be used to enact): the administration, in true “pass it to find out what’s in it” style, has not made the agreement public.

In what sounds like a Douglas Adams-based parody of government (make sure you watch!), The Hill reports that in March, the US Trade Representative’s Office “put a copy of the TPP agreement in a security office in the Capitol where lawmakers can view the developing pact along with a member of their staff as long as they meet a certain security requirement.” Senator Rand Paul has said that the requirement includes not being able to take notes about the agreement, though a USTR spokesman disagrees with that assertion. Perhaps Senator Paul will take a walk, read the treaty, and report back on its benefits and pitfalls.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
http://spectator.org/articles/62704/senate-flushes-fast-track

  • airbus
    Comment from: airbus
    05/19/15 @ 08:55:37 pm

    If Hillary gives a speech in China after the inauguration and dollars come rolling into the Clinton foundation, it is likely to be passed.

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