Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Path to Approval Unclear and Thus TPP’s Fate in Congress Uncertain

By Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

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Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Today, the House employed yet another procedural gimmick to punt the Fast Track problem back to the Senate, where its fate remains at best unclear as Americans’ concerns that more of the same trade policy would kill more jobs and push down our wages remain unaddressed.

That two years of effort by a vast corporate coalition, the White House and Republican leaders – and weeks of procedural gimmicks and deals swapped for yes votes – has resulted in this continuing standoff and no Fast Track enacted spotlights the dim prospects not only for adoption of Fast Track but also for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Because Republican House members would not support the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) part of the Senate-passed Fast Track package last week, the Republican leadership today had to resort to a Fast Track-only vote. But what exactly that achieves is unclear.

Senate Democrats, including those needed to move the stand-alone Fast Track bill, are demanding that the TAA be reinserted into the Fast Track bill or be passed by both chambers before agreeing to support Fast Track.  In addition, key Democratic senators are insisting on the fulfillment by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of a promised vote to reauthorize the Export-Import bank – which was the condition for the deciding bloc of Senate Democrats to support cloture on Fast Track in the first instance in May.

Meanwhile, House Republican lawmakers remain strongly opposed to TAA and Export-Import Bank reauthorization. As House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stated today, there is no clear path for enactment of TAA. Yet yesterday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that President Obama requires both Fast Track and TAA to come to his desk.

For more, see the New York Times.

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.