Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fast track is going off track in the House

Teamsters express their distaste for fast track at a D.C. rally.
For weeks, supporters of fast track trade authority that would speed proposed deals like the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress have expressed confidence they have the support within the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill to get it approved.

The reality, however, is much different. Not only are Democrats overwhelmingly opposed to fast track, but a growing number of Republicans, especially in the House, are expressing doubts. And Politico reports it could end up sinking efforts to back a deal that would ship U.S. jobs overseas:
The House is currently dozens of votes short of being able to pass legislation that would allow President Barack Obama to send trade deals to Congress for fast approval, according to senior lawmakers and aides in both parties, imperiling a top White House priority for the president's final years in office.
At this point, upward of 75 House Republicans could vote against trade promotion authority if it comes up for a vote in the coming weeks, according to aides and lawmakers involved in the process. Some of the lawmakers fear job losses in their districts from free trade; others distrust Obama and oppose giving him more power.
It is now more apparent than ever there is bipartisan opposition to fast track, and members are not backing down. Lawmakers can see that the trade vehicle will stop them from making changes to TPP that would jeopardize American workers, lower their wages and bring unsafe food and products to U.S. shores. Then there's the fact that it does nothing to stop currency manipulation that hurts the sale of American goods or lawsuits by foreign corporations against this country. It's even making one 2016 presidential candidate rethink her support for the deal.

It's time for fast track backers to admit that the reason the legislation doesn't have support is because it isn't a very good.