Free Trade

Fast Track Authority for Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Pact Passes in House (Again) Today

It already passed the Senate. Now it has to again.


Congressional procedure is fun! Whereas bills giving Obama "fast track" authority to send the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact to Congress where they will have to give it a straight yes or no vote with no amendment have passed in both the Senate and then, today, in the House of Representatives, the Senate must now pass it again—and Senate Democrats might want to squeeze some expensive concessions to do it.

Here's why, from The Hill:

The House vote was 218-208, with 28 Democrats voting for it.

This is the second time in a week the House has voted to approve the controversial fast-track bill. On Friday, the House voted 219-211 in favor of fast-track, which would make it easier for Obama to complete a sweeping trans-Pacific trade deal.

In last week's vote, the House GOP paired the fast-track bill with a measure known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that gives aid to workers displaced by trade. Both measures needed to be approved in separate votes for the entire package to move forward.

House Democrats have historically favored TAA, but they voted against it on Friday to kill fast-track, which is deeply opposed by unions and other liberal groups.

The White House still wants both measures to reach Obama's desk, but is now advancing a different strategy that would see the two bills move separately.

The problem lies in the Senate, which previously approved a package that included both bills.

If the two move separately, Republicans and the White House will have to convince Senate Democrats to back fast-track on the promise that TAA will move forward at a later time.

Let's cast our minds back to the halcyon days of last week, when fast track authority's future seemed more grim. This is a story of Obama vs. much of the rest of his party, who are more interested in mollifying their environmental and organized labor constituents than giving their president a feather in his cap.

Here's the latest from the Senate, also from The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)…filed motions to advance fast-track authority and a separate package of trade preferences for African nations combined with an extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a program that helps workers displaced by foreign competition.

The Senate will vote to end debate on fast-track Tuesday and then will vote on final passage of the measure later that day or Wednesday. Immediately afterward, the Senate will vote to end debate on the package of trade preferences and TAA, setting up a final vote on those Wednesday or Thursday.

Pro-trade Senate Democrats have yet to sign off on the plan and are demanding a variety of concessions to sweeten the deal. McConnell needs at least 11 Democratic votes to make up for the expected loss of five Republicans who voted against fast-track last month.

But Democrats say it's going to cost McConnell something extra…McConnell appeared uninclined Thursday to give Democrats any favors and instead urged them to vote the same as they did last month on fast-track and TAA….

Some Democrats want a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank attached to the package of trade preferences and TAA. Others want an expansion of TAA, which now caps funding for worker training at $450 million per year….

Additionally, they want a promise that Congress will pass a separate customs and enforcement bill that includes labor and environmental protections. Both chambers have passed versions of the legislation that need to be reconciled in bicameral talks.

I remain absolutely agnostic on the value of the TPP itself (as it is still mostly secret, among other reasons) and a back-and-forth believer that fast track might ensure that any resulting trade deal will be better than it would be if Congress got to mess around with it–see the above for some reasons why.

But I remain a 100 percent believer that rather than highly negotiated and lengthy and complicated "trade pacts" we should just make it easier and cheaper all on our own to allow American citizens to buy goods and services from whoever we want over the globe, no matter what their governments choose to do to make their citizens' lives harder.

NEXT: Drama as FDA Prepares to Confiscate Execution Drugs Headed for Nebraska

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  1. I want my gridlock back..

    1. Not on free trade, idiot.

      I LOVE gridlock on taxing and spending (see the Bushpig’s reign 2003-2007) – THAT is when we needed some fucking gridlock.

      1. Palin’s Buttplug|6.18.15 @ 9:52PM|#
        “Not on free trade, idiot.”

        Isn’t that sweet? Turd thinks this has to do with free trade!
        But then turd’s a lefty imbecile, licking Obo ass.

        1. I’m applauding the GOP House, you fucking ignoramus fascist dick-licking Teabagger.

          Obama has the trade issue right and so does the GOP. It is the Democrats who voted 90% against free trade who are the idiots.

          But I can see how my supporting the House GOP and Obama on the same issue would confuse a simpleton like you.


          2. No, neither Obama nor the Republicans have the trade issue right.

            If they had it right then there would be no need for the TPP. They’d simply open the border to free trade in goods – unilaterally – and get out of the way.

            TPP simply reinforces the idea that ‘Top Men’ must get in there to fiddle with this stuff because you can’t figure out what’s the best price/quality point for your budget when making a purchase.

            TPP is nothing but *producer* protectionism – actually, protectionism for *some* domestic producers, at the expense of others – that it is *slightly* more liberal than the current trade regime does not save it.

            Unilateral free trade benefits consumers.

            And remember: Only a small number of us are in that favored ‘protected producer’ category, but we’re all consumers.

            1. Unilateral free trade is great, but 90% of the opposition to fast track authority for the next five years comes from unions and others who are enormous protectionists.

              that it is *slightly* more liberal than the current trade regime does not save it.

              Actually, that does a fair amount to save it. Because by your argument you’re arguing for even more producer protectionism.

          3. Palin’s Buttplug|6.18.15 @ 10:02PM|#
            “I’m applauding the GOP House, you fucking ignoramus fascist dick-licking Teabagger.”

            No, turd, you’re licking Obo ass and applauding other ignoramuses. Neither you nor they have any idea what this is about other than the word of one of the world’s WORST liars.
            Oh, and fuck off.

          4. So you’re the one applauding the GOP House, and Sevo is the “fascist dick-licking Teabagger”?

            That’s some sound fucking logic demfag.

      2. Soo.. you’ve read and digested the content of this secret document, and are in a position to comment? You have a firm cognitive grasp of the potential ramifications that lay ahead? You believe, after reading this document, that allowing the president.. whomever that may be.. should have fast track deferment on any matter, let alone this? Even when right-wing fever swamps like Breitbart are dubious of its ramifications? Or, are you just a moron who likes the name on the packaging, and is sold on the contents as a result?

        1. Even if he had read it, he’s proven beyond all doubt that he has the reading comprehension of a 5 year old that’s full of piss and sugar.

        2. None of the above. Obama wants it, so Obama’s buttlicker wants it too, even though he has no idea what it is. If Obama wants it, it must be good.

          1. More importantly, because the Tea-hadist RethugliKKKans don’t want it, because… racist rednecks who don’t want Obama to win.. Fuck his fellow progressive travelers who don’t want it either, This must happen.. In your face, tea-baggers..

  2. But I remain a 100 believer

    What’s a “100 believer”?

    1. A “100 believer” is a person who believes that Ben Franklin was really an alien, sent to America in order to give us the joy of pithy sayings.

      1. Don’t tell him that shit..

        Look, it’s simple.. Doherty and his ilk believe that only 100 Spartans covered the retreat at the battle of Thermopylae.. It’s bullshit, but that’s what they believe..

        1. “Tonight we woodchip in Hell”

      2. Well, he saw her face

      3. There’s a pretty good Sci-Fi story based on that premise, actually.

        Only he was sent to Earth to study.

    2. You are just 1/3 Spartan!

    3. He meant a level 100 believer. It’s a cleric class variant that has divine spells, but no social, secular authority (b/c, libertarian).

  3. How are you “agnostic” when by admission, the bill will contain a number of “sweeteners”? I suggest Reason editors read some European reports regarding TPP before joining the Obama+crony capitalist bandwagon.

    Submitted by a staunchly capitalist business owner.

    1. Europeans and Japs are the biggest protectionists in the world.

      Embrace lower tariffs, dude!

      1. Wow! We’ve entered the ’40s, apparently.

      2. Palin’s Buttplug|6.18.15 @ 9:50PM|#
        “Embrace lower tariffs, dude!”

        Grow a brain-cell, turd!

      3. “Europeans and Japs are the biggest protectionists in the world.”

        Well.. only 8% of them..

    2. This is sort of like the people who say the EU is okay because it has free trade agreements baked in. Well, that doesn’t much matter when every country is beholden to ludicrous EU regulations.

      Similarly, this mysterious trade agreement seems to be more about regulatory smoothing than about legitimate free trade.

  4. “[…]Iremain absolutely agnostic on the value of the TPP itself (as it is still mostly secret, among other reasons)[…]”

    I remain opposed for that reason alone.
    No san person trusts that lying POS with hamburger money at lunch. Let’s see what it says and let’s see what sort of safeguards we have against Friday afternoon royal decrees.

    1. No sane person trusts the government when they’re trying to pass legislation which they won’t let the public see first.

      1. Public? Hell they didn’t even want Congress to see Obumblecare. Pass it to see what is in it…and the trained monkeys did it.

        This government….well, lets just say the country could use more mulch.

    2. ^This^

      1. Obumbles is pushing it.

      2. Obumbles is keeping the contents secret.

      3. The Turtle and The Orange One support it.

      Conclusion: No. Fucking. Way. In. Hell.

      1. Serioulsy, reason enough to oppose it – even if it would truly bring about a golden age – is that its being kept secret.

        You want to craft a big plan for me but not let me in on the details? I simply am not interested in buying into that at all.

        Something for the politicians to mull over – if I’m going to love your new plan, then you have nothing to worry about if I see it, do you?

        1. You want to craft a big plan for me but not let me in on the details?

          No, they want to craft a big plan for themselves and their cronies. And you can be damn sure there are lots of things in there you would absolutely hate, which is why they’re not letting you in on it.

        2. Seriously, this is an ignorant reason. What is being voted on is perfectly not secret. It’s fast track authority for the next several years, for any possible trade agreement negotiated during that time, not just the TPP, under Obama and the next President.

          The TPP is one of many possible trade agreements that could be negotiated under fast track, certainly the one that’s the furthest along. It’s not published because it’s still being negotiated.

  5. Stuff like this is where Republicans (and I guess Libertarians) push crony capitalism instead of free markets.

    1. JeremyR|6.18.15 @ 9:58PM|#
      “Stuff like this is where Republicans (and I guess Libertarians) push crony capitalism instead of free markets.”

      Stuff like this is where they suckers prove once again that they BELIEVE!

    2. This board is filled with idiot Teabag conservatives who even oppose Obama on issues they say they support (like when he cut the deficit in half).

      The Con-Jobs just hate us secular capitalist Ayn Rand types – they prefer a Huckabee/Bush type all the while swearing their love of liberty.

      Liars – all of them.

      1. We are just like Stalinists, aren’t we?

        Snort another line and then give us more of your brilliant insight.

      2. like when he cut the deficit in half

        Was that before, or after he never got a budget passed in 6 years?

        I like you.. you’re funny..

      3. Uh, *why* would we care about the deficit? We’re not Republicans nor Democrats.

        *We* understand that the deficit is a bullshit metric that measures dollars leaving the country but ignores the value of the goods that enter it.

        Obama cutting the deficit in *half* (when did he do this?) is a horrible thing. That means that we stopped getting inexpensive goods from out of the country in exchange for pieces of paper.

        Dude, you need to L2Economics.

        1. Are we talking budget or trade?

          1. We’re talking about the truth deficit in the value of the bullshit spewing from PB’s mouth..

          2. Well, he certainly didn’t cut the *budget* deficit in half at any point in his term, so I’m giving PB the benefit of the doubt that he’s talking about a trade deficit.

            1. “so I’m giving PB the benefit of the doubt”

              Ah, there’s your problem.

      4. Palin’s Buttplug|6.18.15 @ 10:07PM|#
        “This board is filled with idiot Teabag conservatives”

        This from an Obo-ass-licking lefty imbecile. Thanks, turd.

      5. You aren’t a secularist. Or a capitalist.

        And literally nobody here is a Huckster or Booooosh supporter you lying mendacious piece of shit.

  6. NAFTA was imperfect but a winner for prosperity and freedom. I don’t the TPP is a NAFTA.

    1. NAFTA was a once in a lifetime thing – there’s no way that any pol is going to open up markets like that again.

      TPP is guaranteed to not be a NAFTA. Its going to be an PPACA, lot’s of promises that not only won’t be kept, but come with a mound of horrible crap to bury you in.

      1. So you’d rather not have fast track authority at all for *any* trade agreements over the next five years, because you’re afraid that one particular trade agreement it would apply to– that isn’t finished yet– might be bad, even though it will get another specific vote for approval, just like any other agreement under the authority?

        1. Why does the President need fast track authority for anything?

          1. Ahhh… And DesigNate cuts to the heart of the matter.. Why indeed.

    2. What’s that statist saying? If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide? I think that says enough about this secret deal.

      1. That’s all I need to know. I don’t know what’s in it, and that’s why I’m against it.

        1. Fine, you’re against the TPP for now. You know exactly what’s in the fast track authority bill for the next five years, so you’re for the TPA, right?

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