Thank You, Senator Reid!

I consider this excellent news for Democrats, the environment, and people all over the globe who have to work for a living (via LGM):

WASHINGTON — Congress is not likely to approve trade-promotion authority for the Obama administration, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said this week, imperiling two sweeping deals currently under negotiation with countries on the Pacific Rim and with the European Union…

So-called “fast track” or “trade promotion” authority is considered necessary for the passage of any eventual trade deal, as it would guarantee a straight up-or-down vote from Congress…

Mr. Reid’s comments led to a sharp backlash from Republicans largely supportive of free-trade deals that might help bolster American businesses — and eager to capitalize on the election-year rift among Democrats on trade liberalization and jobs growth…

“Trade should be making industries more productive,” said David Rosnick of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-of-center research group in Washington. “But there’s a lot of literature indicating that trade-deepening increases inequality.” Ultimately, he said, the Pacific Rim trade deal might mean “lower wages for most workers.”…

A bipartisan group of members — including Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah — put forward a trade-promotion proposal in January….

I am no expert in economics, but I am quite sure that any bill relying on a mutual “trust us, it’s all good!” from Max Baucus, Orrin G. Hatch, and the people nominally in charge of the Republican Party is not a bill that will be in my best interests. You are all welcome to make counter-arguments, of course…

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48 replies
  1. 1
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    So-called “fast track” or “trade promotion” authority is considered necessary for the passage of any eventual trade deal, as it would guarantee a straight up-or-down vote from Congress…

    I thought we liked up or down votes these days. Do we prefer amend and filibuster on these?

  2. 2
    Glocksman says:

    Perhaps we should nuke it from orbit.
    Just to be sure.

  3. 3
    RaflW says:

    Make passage of “fast track” contingent on the House passing a raise to the Federal Minimum Wage to at least $10.10 per hour. And make them go first.

  4. 4
    hildebrand says:

    As we learned from the movie Pacific Rim – when threatened by monstrous things from the deep, the best response is send big fucking mechas in to clean up the mess. Release the Jagers, Mr. Reid!

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    At least if Chris Christie was in charge some buildings would get built and some steaks would get eaten.

    /NJ pragmatism

  6. 6
    Glocksman says:

    @Quaker in a Basement:

    When we have to find out the details from goddamned Wikileaks, you’re damn straight that at least amendments should be allowed.

    No more secret trade deals.

  7. 7
    jl says:

    Like other recent trade agreements, this one is just as much about expanding the current U.S. style patent and copyright system (which is overly generous to corporations) and expanding what amounts to blank check insurance for corporate investments, as it is about reducing trade barriers as usually defined (like tariffs).

    Sadly, Obama is on the wrong side of this question.

    Shouldn’t vote on it without a thorough debate of its provisions (edit: and ability to amend and rip out the bad parts, thanks to commenter above for reminding me). So, go Harry, go!

  8. 8
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Yay, no more conspiracy theory emails from half the people I know about TPP! Reid, you’re my hero!

  9. 9
    KG says:

    fuck fast track. the president is a Democrat, the Democrats still control the Senate, send it up for ratification and put Senate Republicans on the spot for free/fair trade.

  10. 10
    Another Holocene Human says:

    TPP is the benghazi of reactionary, Republican leaning union members, anarchists, emo-progs, Obama haters, and low income white supremacists. So tired of hearing about it.

    The environmentalists don’t like it either; but they hadn’t hit the panic siren (yet).

  11. 11
    danielx says:

    It’s difficult to say about TPP, since all the details about the regulations (written by corporate lobbyists) have been held under Double Secret classification. Do you suppose there might be something in there the average person wouldn’t like? Like maybe about national judicial systems being overridden by some supra-judicial authority? I can’t imagine why anyone would suspect such a thing.

  12. 12
    jl says:

    @danielx: You don’t need wild conspiracy theories. The dubious parts of the agreement are there in print for all to see. That is why it is negotiated in secret (with over representation of corporate interests at the negotiation table) and they want a fast track gimmick to get it enacted.

  13. 13
    Jeremy says:

    Can we please wait till we get all the details before the hyperventilating from some people. I recall plenty of people going crazy over the Korea trade deal when it turned out to be a pretty good deal.

  14. 14
    Jeremy says:

    @jl: Well most trade agreements around the world are negotiated behind closed doors.

  15. 15
    Jay C says:

    Good for Harry Reid! I’ll even forgive him (or his minions bots) for sending me all those “inspirational” emails…..

    Next, he should figure out a way to derail the Kirk-Menendez Iran-sanctions bill: THAT should earn him some well-deserved kudos!

  16. 16
    KG says:

    @Jeremy: no, no waiting, just hyperventilating outrage at this outrageously outrageous outrage! I mean, for fuck’s sake, it’s the internet, it’s what we do.

    @Jeremy: pretty much all treaties, which is what trade agreements are, are negotiated behind closed doors, because it’s the highest level sausage making you can have in politics.

  17. 17
    The Other Chuck says:

    The Republicans are of course not doing this out of any principled stand but simply out of sheer naked spite. So it’s going to be interesting to see how their corporate paymasters react to this.

    EDIT: Oh, I see it’s actually Democrats holding it up by _not_ dancing to a corporate paymaster tune. Now that’s an interesting development, seeing some actual spines being grown.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Trade should be making industries more productive,” said David Rosnick of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-of-center research group in Washington. “But there’s a lot of literature indicating that trade-deepening increases inequality.” Ultimately, he said, the Pacific Rim trade deal might mean “lower wages for most workers.”…

    And this, right here, is the problem. Any productivity gains are leached from those who actually produce by the vile parasitical vermin at the top.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    @Glocksman: No more secret trade deals anything.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    @Jeremy: Yes, but Congress passed a law to open up the negotiations to some in Congress, and that was conveniently interpreted by the USTR to restrict access even more to Congress, while giant corporations were fully involved in the negotiation process from start to finish.

    So, what I am saying is that secret negotiations, plus a lot of corporate representation and involvement in the negotiations from start to finish, makes a fast track approval a bad idea.

  21. 21
    shelly says:

    I see the prima donnas are at it again.
    “Priebus: Boycott MSNBC Over Cheerios Tweet”

    Thought they were already boycotting that liberal hell-hole.

  22. 22
    Trollhattan says:

    Speaking of things congressional, Waxman has announced he’s retiring, joining George Miller in having more time to play commie golf. Two giants of the northern California house delegation, they leave big shoes to fill. Luckily, the California Republicans are more hapless than usual this year.

  23. 23
    srv says:

    We should wait until these things are passed and become policy before commenting whether they’re good or not.

  24. 24
    Gene108 says:

    If you think people living on a dollar a day is terrible and we should rid the world of such abject poverty, please keep in mind “free trade” and “globalization” have done more to reduce the rates of such abject poverty than anything else we’ve tried.

    There’s certain IGMFY mindset in thinking companies from the richest countries in the world should not invest in poorer countries and keep all their economic capacity in the rich countries.

  25. 25
    Third Coast says:

    Agree.

    I have nothing against trade deals in general, but there’s just been too many bad deals for me to feel comfortable fast tracking anything.

  26. 26
    Glocksman says:

    @Trollhattan:

    I have mixed feelings about Waxman.
    Half of me is sad to see him go, while the other half is throwing a party over Congressman RIAA/MPAA finally leaving office.

  27. 27
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Trollhattan: Waxman, northern CA? You must have a different map of the state than I’m familiar with.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    @Gene108: True, but a lot of this agreement is about patent and IP protection, and the relationship of that to ‘free trade’ is complex.

    Edit: in fact a patents and a lot of IP protection work by trading off static inefficiency from restraint of free trade for dynamic efficiency of providing incentives for investment. So sloganeering about ‘free trade’ is not going to cut it with large parts of the proposed agreement.

    I certainly don’t think I have a FYIGM attitude about whether ‘U.S.’ corporations should invest in poorer countries. I am concerned about the terms on which these corporations invest. And the idea of a ‘U.S.’ corporation is rather quaint, when it comes to mega-giant financial services corporations, which I think were the ones interested in getting this agreement started.

  29. 29
    justawriter says:

    NAFTA was one of the first big issues I worked on. Still waiting for those side agreements on labor and the environment that were going to make EVERYTHING ALL RIGHT SO SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!!!!!! to actually do something. It’s a big part of why I have no confidence in the blue dog-new democrat-whatever they’re calling it this week wing of the Democratic Party.

  30. 30
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    Delicious breakfast of free-range turkey meatloaf, wild mushroom gravy and vegetables at noon.

    90 minute hike in the Hollywood hills.

  31. 31
    burnspbesq says:

    My Facebook feed has been full of panic from the left over the Trans-Pacific Partnership for months. I keep asking what’s in it, and nobody seems to know; all of the agitta seems to based on leaks of supposed preliminary drafts.

    What the Chickens Little are saying is disturbing, but as of now there is absolutely no reason to believe that any part of it will actually be in the final version that will be presented to the President for signature and subsequent submission to the Senate for ratification.

  32. 32
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Gene108:

    I don’t know enough of the detail of the trade/tariff provisions of the treaty to have an opinion on them. I do know enough about the IP provisions of the treaty to have serious reservations about them.

  33. 33
    burnspbesq says:

    @Trollhattan:

    Two giants of the northern California house delegation

    Waxman’s constituents, from Agoura to Santa Monica and down to Palos Verdes, will be surprised to learn that they live in NorCal.

  34. 34
    jl says:

    @burnspbesq: That is one of the parts of Southern California that would be nice to have up here in the north. So, if some one can arrange that, I am one Northern Californian who doesn’t mind at all.

  35. 35
    draftmama says:

    Every email I have sent to my senator’s office (Baucus the Idiot) has garnered a boilerplate response about how free trade is great for everyone. Well, if you look at the Job Service in Montana, most jobs top out at $12/hr NOW so I’m sure TPP would be a huge improvement on that. Personally I’m just hoping Ol’ Max chokes on the smog in Beijing, I’m happy with the clean air here back in Big Sky country, the Last Best Place. BTW the kazillionnaire who tried to copyright that (LBP) got shot down. Shows money can’t buy everything.

  36. 36
    burnspbesq says:

    Even if you assume that every member of the Democratic caucus in the Senate will line up behind TPP when it is submitted for ratification (a dubious assumption; no way I see Bernie Sanders getting on board), I’m struggling to figure out where 14 Republican votes for something that Obama wants are going to come from.

  37. 37
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @jl:

    That is one of the parts of Southern California that would be nice to have up here in the north.

    Kiss my ass, okay? I have lived in a few dozen places in California from San Diego to Trinidad. I’ve lived in El Centro and Joshua Tree. Your allowing that there are parts of SoCal that would be acceptable to you in NorCal betrays both a shallow knowledge of CA and your own desire to be superior in some tiny way. Get out more.

  38. 38
    jl says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    ” Get out more. ”

    I got my well kissed ass down to Southern California for ten years. Most of it is very nice. Some not. Just like Northern California.

    Edit: you seem a tad touchy. Where you living now? Downey or something like that?

  39. 39
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Jay C: Kirk… health problems; Menendez… ethics lapses, possibly criminal

    hmmmmm

    And Obama said it would be headed smack into a veto on Tuesday night, heck, he smacked the whole notion down.

    If it tries to come back to life I will be hitting that Congressional switchboard again. One of the few issues I’ve called in on, feel like I helped make a difference (with the sane Sen from FL, I rarely waste time with Rubio, Fla GOP water-carrier-person.

  40. 40
    Roy G. says:

    As a Northern Californian, I am relieved about Reid’s stance on this, as I was going to have to call DINO Dianne Feinstein to voice my anti-TPP stance, which, of course she is all too predictably for.

  41. 41
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gene108: Free trade my ass, there’s no free libertarian Galt’s Gulch handshakes between a superpower and what we so nicely term “dirtbag” “turd world” small GDP countries. Free trade means you get rid of your ag tariffs or open nat resources leases to our scum-sucking extractive industry and we flood you with cheapass grain that causes your farmers devastation that makes the dustbowl and the early Great Depression years look like the 7 fat years in Pharoah’s dream. IOW, bull fucking shit.

    Bangladesh has had a low end industrial engine for years making clothes and other low skill, low profit consumer crap and the poverty is insane. The only reason anything is being done at all is because European consumers are horrified and disgusted by the Triangle Shirtwaist x 30’s going on in that country; sure, the people took to the streets but their corrupt gov’t is pushing repression as usual. US concerns don’t give a SHIT because they figure you don’t either.

    Did maquilladoras make Mexico or Mexicans prosperous? Answer: no. They’re fed by a steady stream of desperate landholders whose agricultural land is useless due to the US sucking down all the water. Mexico’s big money export is oil. They nationalized it during a brief fit of political sanity. Idk to what degree production has been re-privatized, sure that’s been on the agendas of the scumbags who’ve served as president of Mexico in the last decade or so.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jeremy:

    I recall plenty of people going crazy over the Korea trade deal when it turned out to be a pretty good deal.

    On what basis?

  43. 43
    The Pale Scot says:

    @burnspbesq:

    but as of now there is absolutely no reason to believe that any part of it will actually be in the final version that will be presented to the President for signature and subsequent submission to the Senate for ratification.

    Yea, trust the process, the one that apparently arranged the USA negotiator to insert into Nafta’s Chapter 11 without “anyone” knowing a clause that give corporations the right to sue governments if any government action reduces profits. After the treaty was signed the negotiator slid into a job in the lobbyist industry with a multi-million dollar pay raise.

    Google MTBE, California and Nafta to see how that clause preventing Cal from protecting its drinking water because regulation is a profit reducing act.

    Hafta go so i don’t have time to find the details.

  44. 44
    kindness says:

    I can understand the need to vote it up or down. Since this was negotiated between how ever many countries and Obama’s State Dept. Those countries didn’t negotiate with us so they could turn around and then negotiate with the Bozo Bus called our Senate.

    And since I do think it deserves an up or down vote I want it voted down. Too much give away to corporations and the already too powerful allowing them to trump local environmental and labor laws. Screw that noise. Since I want it voted down I’m OK with Harry refusing to bring it up. But I do think the Senate isn’t the body that does the foreign negotiating. That is the Executive.

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq:

    What the Chickens Little are saying is disturbing, but as of now there is absolutely no reason to believe that any part of it will actually be in the final version that will be presented to the President for signature and subsequent submission to the Senate for ratification.

    The president is the one pushing this POS toward fast track.
    But, yes parasite, let’s take your word for how it’s all cool.

  46. 46
    Corner Stone says:

    @The Pale Scot: One should remember where burnspbesq’s bread gets buttered.

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I love the fact that I’m so far inside your head that you can’t let anything I write here go by without a lame-ass rejoinder.

    I own you, dickhead. How does that feel?

  48. 48
    dollared says:

    @burnspbesq: The last guy you owned was the only dillweed smaller, more awkward and smarter than you in the law school basketball league. You guys played point guard opposite each other for the two last place teams.

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