Not everything can be a victory. Sometimes, there are going to be setbacks.
Yesterday, the United States Senate voted to end debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’ve explained this topic in detail over the past few days, but here’s another summary.
The legislation before Congress right now would give the President of the United States (Barack Obama and his unnamed successor) 6-years of what is known as “trade-promotion authority.”
What that means is that Congress is effectively giving up its power to amend or alter any trade agreement that Obama puts up for a vote. Congress is only allowed to vote yes or no.
The threats are many. First of all, we have absolutely no idea what is in the bill. It is being kept a secret under lock and key. Republicans are voting to give Obama the authority to negotiate the deal on his own because they don’t want to vote on its contents. Trade agreements always have winners and losers. By ceding their power to the Executive Branch, Republicans able to appease their corporate donors without directly voting against their constituents. Yes, it is that scummy!
As I said, by giving Obama trade-promotion authority, the President can add whatever he wants to the trade agreement.
Unless the agreement that Obama presents before Congress is complete garbage, it is ultimately going to pass. In fact, an international trade agreement is what is known as “must-pass." The danger is that Obama can insert small amendments in the agreement for gun control or immigration reform. Not only would Congress be powerless to remove them, but they wouldn’t dare scuttle an entire trade agreement over such a relatively small amendment.
That’s why we can’t allow this trade agreement to ever leave the Senate chambers.
The vote to end debate was 62-48. That means we are as little as THREE votes away from killing this thing in the Senate.
Not only that, but there is a growing coalition in the House of Representatives between conservatives and progressives in opposition to the deal. Even if it passes the Senate, it isn’t guaranteed to pass the House.
Mitch McConnell wants this thing passed. Without even reading it, he’s out proclaiming the deal is good for Americans.
We cannot, in good conscience, support a trade agreement until the details are made public.
McConnell scheduled 30 hours of debate. That ends today at 5pm Eastern. Then, they’ll start moving towards final votes.
As I mentioned, Rand Paul’s filibuster bought us a little more time. It is up to us to make the most of it.
This time tomorrow, we’ll know whether President Obama will have even more power or whether Congress will smack him down. Join me in making one final push against this horrible trade surrender!