Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Latest on Fast Track Authority and Trade Deals

     We've discussed the fissure this has put between Democrats-though I do think there's reason to hope it won't hurt the party going forward. In some ways this is a healthy debate perhaps.

    My only point has been that opponents of any trade deals have been very confident they know exactly what the effects of trade deals are. Both advocates and proponents have made the fallacious argument in terms of jobs-opponents claim it will cost millions of jobs while advocates claim it will create that many. 

    I do think it's more likely that it will hurt wages at least for low-skilled workers. However, I still am waiting for someone on any side of the issue to come forward with some data from NAFTA and the other previous deals. 

    Besides that, this vote is just for fast track authority which every other country in the world has-and GOP Presidents are able to get with no problem. I think that Obama should get his FTA and then when the TPP comes if it's as bad a deal as opponents claim then vote it down. 

    However, I notice that some on Twitter just declare in a blanket way that 'All trade deals kill jobs.' I really think that even if the TPP is a bad deal more factual precision than that is needed. 

    If you just think all trade deals are bad than why do you even care what's in TPP? Yet you are also claiming the reason not to do it is because its secret-though it will be made public before it's voted on. 

    Dean Baker thinks this is a great thing that the deal went down last Friday:

    "Congress gave the American people and the world something to celebrate last Friday. The House of Representatives refused to pass the package of bills that would have given President Obama fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This was a huge victory for a campaign led by labor unions, environmentalists, consumer groups and other activists against the country's biggest corporations."

     "A victory by the masses, or "everyday people," over big money and big media is always grounds for celebration. But it is important to remember the game is far from over. This is one of those bills, like the TARP, where we are playing by rich people's rules."
    So while he celebrates this so-called win for everyday people over big money he warns about the bill getting a second life. It seems that this second life is being worked out now. 
   "Ryan Grim reports that Congressional aides in both parties may have hit on a way forward: Basically, the House will pass Fast Track by itself, without the Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers that Dems killed (as a way to bring down Fast Track). Then, after that, the Senate would pass Fast Track by itself. Then TAA — attached to another bill  — and other measures would pass in both parties (Dems would no longer have an incentive to kill it, because Fast Track has already passed)."
    "The big question: Whether a bloc of a dozen or so pro-trade Democrats in the Senate would be willing to pass Fast Track on its own, on the understanding that worker assistance would pass afterwards."
     That isn't clear:
      Related to the above: The Post reports that Senate Dems who backed Fast Track (attached to Trade Adjustment Assistance) are internally debating whether they can support Fast Track by itself. One emerging option: They would help pass Fast Track on its own, on the assurance that TAA would get a vote afterwards.
     The Huffington Post has this:
     "Several pro-TPA Democrats declined to say whether they would vote for the fast-track bill on its own, though they continued to praise the legislation and seemed inclined to support it again if another path could be found for the TAA assistance."
      "Listen, I want the president to get trade promotion authority and I want TAA. If I thought we were going to get both, then I would support the strategy to get there," said Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.).
     Which sounds like Delaney is open to a deal. 
     For more on TAA see here.

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