Jane Kelsey on Fast Track saga moves back to Senate

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United States Senate.

Source: Professor Jane Kelsey.

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The latest Obama-Republican Party manoeuvre to secure Fast Track negotiating authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) succeeded with a narrow ten-vote majority in the House of Representatives, but the saga is far from over, according to Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.

 ‘The Bill now returns to the Senate where its fate is far from certain’, Kelsey said.

To get Fast Track Bill passed in the House today, the companion measure that provides support for workers who lose their jobs through deals like the TPPA was dropped.

Yet the inclusion of the Trade Adjustment Assistance package, as well as promises to vote to reauthorise the Export-Import Bank, were prerequisites for several of the 14 Democrat Senators who voted for the original Fast Track bill in the Senate.

Key Senate Democrats are now demanding that both those measures are passed in both Houses before they vote on Fast Track, because they don’t trust the Republicans. Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives are deeply opposed to both measures. 

Obama himself has said he won’t approve Fast Track without the Trade Assistance package. 

The Senate process requires a 60-vote super-majority for the version of the Fast Track Bill approved by the House before it can bypass a filibuster and move to a formal vote. If just three of the original 14 Democrats withdraw their support from the Fast Track law, the deal will not get to a vote in the Senate.

That next phase of the saga is expected within the next week.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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