Republican opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have begun calling it Obamatrade. And yet most of the plan’s opponents are Democrats.
BY WILLIAM FINNEGAN for The New Yorker:
The political battle over the enormous, twelve-nation trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership keeps getting stranger. President Obama has made the completion of the deal the number-one legislative priority of his second term. Indeed, Republican opponents of the T.P.P., in an effort to rally the red-state troops, have begun calling it Obamatrade. And yet most of the plan’s opponents are not Republicans; they’re Democrats.
The article went on to say this:
With the fast-track authority that President Obama seeks, he would be able to negotiate trade agreements and present them to Congress for an up-or-down vote, with no amendments or filibusters permitted. Such agreements would then require only fifty-one votes, not sixty, to pass. Paul Ryan recently said, on CNN, that “every President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has had” some form of fast-track authority. That is not quite right—Richard Nixon never got it, although he initiated the modern version of it. Still, not having it plainly galls Obama. And his only realistic hope of enacting the T.P.P. now turns on getting fast-track authority from the House.
The Senate passed fast-track last month, sixty-two to thirty-seven, with only fourteen Democrats voting yes. Boehner and Ryan expect to be able to produce two hundred Republican votes. That means eighteen Democratic votes are needed. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, is reported to be working closely with Boehner and Ryan to come up with the number they need—although she still hasn’t said which way she’ll vote herself. That’s how strange the legislative politics of the T.P.P. have become. Nearly every constituency in the Democratic Party opposes it; and the more they learn about it, the more they oppose it. And yet their leader, Obama, wants it badly.
But why? Maybe it’s a better agreement—better for the American middle class, for American workers—than it seems in the leaked drafts, where it appears bent to the will of multinational corporations.
FULL STORY CONTINUES HERE: