Monthly Archives: June 2015

6 Ways TPP Opponents Have Won, Even As Fast Track Advances

Popular Resistance published an article on the Six Ways TPP Opponents Have Won, Even As Fast Track Advances. Here’s a summary:

1. A diverse progressive coalition showed that people power can put up a real fight against big money.

2. The battle exposed deep divisions within the United States, empowering allies in other countries.

3. The showdown drove a shift in the discourse.

4. Labor unions made strong vows to punish pro-fast track Democrats.

5. The strong opposition to Obama’s trade agenda augurs well for other progressive fights.

6. The demands to see the secret text got some results.

Read the full article here.

NY Times: Senate passes “trade” promotion 60-38

The NY Times reports that the Senate cleared the so-called trade promotion bill 60 to 38, with 13 Democrats joining all but five Republicans:

The dislocated worker bill swings the Democrats’ direction. Such trade adjustment assistance programs have existed since the Kennedy administration, but pro-trade Democrats demanded a significant expansion as a price for their support for fast track. The bill extends assistance through June 2022, with an expansion of the program through June 2021. That includes $2.7 billion in funds for worker retraining and education, and a provision that for the first time makes workers in service industries eligible for a program once reserved for out-of-work manufacturing workers.

The bill extends and expands a tax credit for the purchase of health insurance, and it includes subsidies for the wages of workers 50 or older who were forced to find lower-paid jobs than the ones they lost to international competition.

Read the full article here.

These work retraining programs don’t sway ITES members. Here is a video of coop members discussion this:

Weekly Standard: ‘Washington broke arms and heads to get that 60th vote’

The Weekly Standard
published Sessions: They Won the Vote, But Lost the ‘Trust of the American People’, a critical analysis of the politics behind the recent Senate vote:

Jeff SessionsSenator Jeff Sessions will release this statement in response to Senate’s vote to advance the fast-track
trade bill:

“Americans increasingly believe that their country isn’t serving its own citizens. They need look no further than a bipartisan vote of Congress that will transfer congressional power to the Executive Branch and, in turn, to a transnational Pacific Union and the global interests who will help write its rules.

“The same routine plays out over and again. We are told a massive bill must be passed, all the business lobbyists and leaders tell how grand it will be, but that it must be rushed through before the voters spoil the plan.”

Read the full article here.

FAIR: Scapegoating Labor for Fast Track’s Defeat

Here’s a media analysis about who’s to blame for the supposed failure of Fast Track that’s dated June 16… which seems a long time ago after the recent Senate vote.

FAIR published this piece about the TPP rhetoric in Scapegoating Labor for Fast Track’s Defeat:

Corporate media have a storyline ready to explain the defeat (for the time being, anyway) of the Trans Pacific Partnership: Big Labor is to blame.

This was set up well in advance of progressive Democrats outmaneuvering the Obama administration in Congress to thwart the passage of fast track authority

Read the full article here.

Action Update #2 from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

The future of TPP may be determined by the Senate this week. Here is an update on what to do from Public Citizen:

Derailing Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership has become a high-stakes game of whack-a-mole. A Fast Track vote could pop up again—this time in the Senate—as soon as Tuesday.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives—led by House Speaker John Boehner and his corporate cronies—used another procedural gimmick to punt Fast Track back to the Senate. Our concerns that more-of-the-same trade policy would offshore more jobs and push down our wages remain 100 percent unaddressed.

How do we demolish Fast Track? Focus all we’ve got on the U.S. Senate!

Continue reading

Action updates from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

TPP debate is heating up. Public Citizen urges action with this email:

On Thursday, June 19, with mostly Republican votes, the House passed a fast-track trade bill that would attempt to pre-approve the job-killing, environment-destroying, medicine price-raising Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, a week after a Democratic rebellion blocked the proposal in the House. Now the fate of this proposal lies before the Senate. The proposal will be blocked in the Senate if 41 Senators vote against “cloture” to proceed to a vote – that is, if 41 Senators support a “filibuster.”
Continue reading

CTC: What to do about the House vote on TPP last week

Citizens Trade Campaign has this good analysis of the recent House vote and what it means:

In case you didn’t hear yet, things didn’t go our way in the House, so the Fast Track fight now heads back to the Senate, with a new vote expected as early as this Tuesday.

In a close vote, the House approved Fast Track legislation yesterday. (See how different Representative voted here.)

While we obviously would have preferred the House to just kill Fast Track outright yesterday, there is still another opportunity for us to prevent this train wreck.Thanks to your hard work, the House was unable to muster the votes to pass the Fast Track bill that just barely squeaked through the Senate in May. As such, the House resorted to approving a different version of the legislation, meaning that the Senate now has to vote all over again.

Continue reading

Could TPP hurt food labeling laws? It just happened under NAFTA

One of the arguments against TPP is that it could lead to a weakening of food labeling laws and other consumer protections. Could this really happen? Well, it just did under NAFTA. Here’s article from the Daily News:

House votes to repeal meat labeling laws after $3B threat from Canada, Mexico 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to repeal meat labeling laws after Canada and Mexico threatened $3 billion in trade sanctions.

The House voted 300-131 to repeal country-of-origin labeling rules on beef, pork and poultry, after the World Trade Organization ruled they discriminated against imported meat.

The Senate must still approve the repeal.

If the laws are not reversed, the U.S. faces costly retaliation from its two of its neighbors. Canada wants to impose just over $2.4 billion in sanctions on U.S. imports while Mexico is looking for $653 million worth of punitive measures.

To read the full article, click here.

Public Citizen: Bipartisan Betrayals on ‘Deals’ Made by Prez & Congress in Exchange for Trade Votes

A Public Citizen reportBroken Promises, Lost Elections: Goodies Promised in Exchange for Trade Votes Don’t Materialize, Don’t Shield Representatives From Voters’ Wrath:

As the Obama administration and GOP congressional leaders resort to promising special favors in attempt to entice members of Congress to buck majority opinion and support Fast Track, a report released today by Public Citizen reveals that such promises to extract controversial trade votes consistently have been broken, exposing representatives to angry constituents and electoral losses.

Facing bipartisan congressional opposition to Fast Track trade authority and polls showing majority U.S. public opposition, the Obama administration has moved beyond trying to sell Fast Track on its merits and is now offering rides on Air Force One, promises of infrastructure legislation and pledges to help representatives survive the political backlash of a “yes” vote on Fast Track. GOP congressional leaders are promising post- hoc policy fixes to trade laws and more. A comprehensive review of the past two decades of such trade vote deal-making shows that promises of policy changes, goodies for the district and political cover for unpopular trade votes rarely materialize, contributing to electoral upsets for representatives of both parties who trade their votes.

“Members of Congress should know better than to trust an exiting president’s promises of political cover or to rely on vote-yes-now-goodies-later deals for voting ‘yes’ on such a controversial, career-defining issue as Fast Track,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Our research of scores of deals over the past 20 years shows no matter who the president or congressional leadership is, almost all of the promises made in the heat of a trade vote go unfulfilled, and representatives who vote ‘yes’ are repeatedly left in political peril.”

Read the full article here.

Isn’t it nice to hear British actors making trade policy interesting?

International trade policy can be dreadfully boring. That’s why it’s so much more entertaining* to hear British actors talk about it:

*It’s entertaining and also an urgent policy discussion.