Progressives Are Not Alone — 87% of Republicans Oppose Fast Track
How the Tea Party sees Fast Track (source)
by Gaius Publius
In covering the TPP battle between President Obama and the CEO class on the one side, and most of the rest of the country on the other, I've noted that the Tea Party right is as opposed as the "professional" left. (My own TPP coverage is collected here.)
Now comes more evidence of that. Let's start with The Hill (h/t Dave Johnson; my emphasis throughout):
Trade vote stirs angst on the rightThere are 54 Republican senators, one of whom (Richard Burr, listed above) is likely to vote No on the floor since he voted No in the Finance Committee. If all four Republicans listed above vote No and support the filibuster — where the threshold is 60 votes — the Democrats will need to find ten votes at least to pass Fast Track in the Senate. We already know there are 7 Democratic votes for Fast Track, based on their Yes votes in committee:
Trade legislation is sowing discord among Senate Republicans that could make it tougher than expected to pass fast-track trade authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
While much of the attention in the trade fight has focused on the divide between President Obama and liberal Democrats, Republican leaders are facing dissent within their own caucus because of currency manipulation and immigration concerns.
“The polling is bad, and some people are getting nervous,” said a GOP senator who requested anonymity to talk about his conversations with colleagues.
Senate Republicans are looking for political cover to vote for trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation, which would empower Obama to negotiate the TPP — a trade pact with 11 nations — that could not be amended or filibustered in Congress.
Potential Republican “no” votes on the bill include Sens. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.).
- Ron Wyden — Ranking Member and lead perp
- Michael Bennet — Former head of DSCC
- Maria Cantwell
- Ben Cardin
- Tom Carper
- Bill Nelson
- Mark Warner
Ten to 15 Senate Democrats are expected to vote for the fast-track bill, which means Republican leaders can only afford to lose fewer than 10 caucus members.If the Republicans are down to 50 Yes votes, they'll need 10 Democrats in order to break the filibuster. If no more than 15 Democrats vote with the CEOs and the multinational corporations, Republicans can only lose another five votes:
“I think it’s going to be tight,” said Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), who is leaning in favor of voting yes because the farm community supports the legislation.
Republican senators say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his leadership team have begun to count votes, a sign that they’re not taking passage of the measures for granted.
“It could be a problem depending on how few Democrats vote for it. The president has to step up and work it,” said another GOP senator, who requested anonymity to discuss his party’s whip count.
Democratic aides say the final number of Democratic yeses is unlikely to exceed 15.It's going to be tight, and pressure is building on both parties from their so-called "base":
“It’s possible that more than half of the yes votes already voted for it in committee,” said a senior Democratic aide.
While the trade deals are popular with the business community, they are controversial among the conservative base in states — such as Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina and South Carolina — where Republican incumbents are running for reelection next year.Let's look at the Republican opposition more closely.
“Why would any Republican give President Obama more authority?” said Ed Martin, president of Eagle Forum, a conservative advocacy group.
87% of Republicans Oppose Fast Track
Dave Johnson, from the piece linked above:
Republicans in Congress can read polls and letters from their constituents as well as Democrats, and they, as most Democrats already have done, are starting to realize that it might not be wise to rubber-stamp the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the rigged fast track trade promotion authority process that will be used to pre-approve it. The tea party and the right generally are starting to ramp up their own opposition.In support, he offers this. First, 87% of Republicans oppose Fast Track:
I noted in the recent post “A Look At The Fast Track Bill Shows It’s The Wrong Thing To Do” that polls show that many conservatives are opposed to fast track and the TPP, and that in Congress, “many ‘Constitution-based’ Tea Party Republicans are opposed to it.” Those polls show that “Republicans overwhelmingly oppose giving fast-track authority to the president (8 percent in favor, 87 percent opposed), as do independents (20 percent-66 percent).”He notes that Pat Buchanan is strongly opposed, as are Tea Party "patriots." In fact, conservative advocacy groups are already starting to run ads. Huffington Post (h/t Johnson again):
Americans for Limited Government, a conservative group founded by wealthy activist Howard Rich, will begin radio ads in New Hampshire on Thursday, calling on Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to oppose the fast-track legislation moving through Congress. All three senators are running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.Note that "next president" objection in the last line above. If that "next president" is Hillary Clinton, she'll have Fast Track power as well for any trade deal she wants to gin up. See what I mean by a bipartisan rejection of Fast Track? Only the money-bought want it, and I think I mean that literally.
“Congress is getting ready to give Obama more power, just when we’re getting ready to choose his replacement,” the ad says. “If Congress gives Obama fast-track power, he’ll use it to write more regulations for our economy -- for the entire world. Rules that the next president won’t be able to change.”
Also, note those names listed above — Republican Sens. Cruz, Paul and Rubio. If all three decide to vote No, the Republican Yes votes fall to 47, and 13 Democratic Yes votes will be needed. Are there 13 Democratic Yes votes for Fast Track? You can help with that.
It's Going to Be Close
It's going to be close and also interesting. I personally think Ron Wyden should lose his job over his role in this, regardless of what happens. But that's for later (though you can always click here, give him a little call, and offer a little piece of your mind, especially if you vote in Oregon).
For now though, lobby your senators hard — both Democrats and Republicans. Senate phone numbers here. Call them both; you will never know until afterward who was about to fold and say No to Fast Track. This can still be won.