Democratic Senators Who Need to Be Lobbyists in 2017
Each of these Democrats need to be turned into lobbyists at the earliest opportunity. For three of them, that's January 2017 (click to enlarge and share).
The Senate held its final cloture vote on Fast Track, and after a lot of wheeling and dealing over amendments — whose will get a vote and whose won't — the Democrats above voted to help grease the next NAFTA treaty's passage into law.
Pro-TPP writer Alex Rogers, in the National Journal (Ex-Im means "Export-Import"; my emphasis throughout):
Ex-Im Bank Deal Gets Trade Bill MovingWhat's the Export-Import bank? A slush fund for companies like Boeing and the CEOs who draw their pay from them:
Last-minute floor trading on reauthorizing the bank secured the votes to proceed on fast-track measure.
The Senate advanced a major trade bill Thursday, after a last-minute deal on a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank prompted Sen. Maria Cantwell and others to break away from a powwow on the chamber floor to say, "Aye." ...
The vote, 62 to 38, came over the objections of [anti-TPP] senators, who claimed that the Senate GOP leadership—President Obama's strange bedfellows on free trade—had throttled debate, allowing only two votes so far despite around 200 amendments filed.
"The last time we did fast-track legislation on the Senate floor it was three weeks of debate," said Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. "This is about three days."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had set up the procedural vote Thursday despite other time-sensitive deadlines determining the National Security Agency's bulk-collection authority and highway funding. But he seemed aware of the possibility of failing on Wednesday afternoon. "Well we're going to grind on and finish TPA," he said, "if those who say they're for it end up voting for it."
Those members included Washington state Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray as well as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who formed a tight circle with McConnell on the floor to hash out an agreement for a future vote on authorizing the Export Import bank, whose charter expires at the end of next month.
The bank, which helps finances U.S. businesses' exports, is synonymous with "crony capitalism" by conservatives and many House Republicans who wish to kill it. But the bank is also popular with many Senate Republicans, including Graham, who—like the Washington state senators—represents a state with a significant stake in the success of Boeing.Fast Track is as good as done in the Senate. On to the House.
The Democrats' Trade — Your Rich People for Mine
So here's the trade Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray and the other pro-TPP Democrats made. They will vote to give money to rich people who will benefit from TPP. In exchange other senators will vote to give money to rich people who run companies like Boeing. There were a bunch of trades like this in the Yes-on-TPP camp. Who said there's gridlock in DC?
What did we get? If Fast Track passes the House, we get TPP, the next NAFTA, and the one after that, TPIP, the same bad deal on the Atlantic side. These senators, of course, will do quite well in any case.
A Tale of the Rich and the Rest
The TPP story isn't about the U.S. and the world. It's about the rich and the rest, also known as "capital and labor," as this excellent piece by Harold Meyerson explains:
A trade deal at what cost?But what about restraining the power of China? Meyerson delivers the knockout blow:
So what gives with the American people? Don’t they realize, as my colleague Charles Krauthammer argued last week, “that free trade is advantageous to both sides”?
The sides to which Krauthammer referred, of course, are nations. But perhaps those who’ve experienced such free-trade consequences as factory closings and lower-paying jobs are thinking about two entirely different sides — capital and labor. ...
When advocates make the case for Congress expanding free trade with Pacific Rim nations by passing the “fast-track bill” currently before it, they cite the U.S. industries that the deal will benefit. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial, for instance, acknowledges that, while U.S. exports to South Korea have hardly increased since we signed a trade accord with that nation in 2011, our service-sector growth there has been substantial. Our international law firms can now practice there, the Journal proclaims, and “American investors can now own telecom operations in that country.”
A great deal for international lawyers and investors — two groups of embattled U.S. proletarians who clearly needed our government’s help.
For other American workers, not so great. The treaty was promoted as benefiting the U.S. auto industry, but since its enactment Korean auto imports to the United States have boomed while sales of U.S.-made cars to South Korea remain all but nonexistent.
Is it any wonder, then, that virtually the entire base of the Democratic Party opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the fast-track bill that would ease its enactment? From coast to coast, Democrats are doing their damnedest to raise the very wages that globalized capital has depressed.
Of all the developments that led to the increase in China’s power and the diminution of ours, the one that definitively did both was Congress’s enactment of permanent normal trade relations with China in 2000. That led to a flood of U.S. companies shuttering their domestic plants and shifting production to China. When Beijing insisted that the price of doing business there was the transfer of proprietary high-technology techniques to China, many of those companies complied."A trade deal benefiting U.S. investors at the expense of U.S. workers" — an apt description in both cases. A tale of the rich and the rest (meaning us).
So a trade deal benefiting U.S. investors at the expense of U.S. workers created the rise in Chinese power, and now, we’re told, a trade deal benefiting U.S. investors at the expense of U.S. workers will help us keep Chinese power in check.
If Democrats Want to Lobby for Rich People, They Should Register
And you can help by moving them out of their current job and putting them on the labor market. These TPP Democrats are up for reelection in 2016:
▪ Patty Murray — 202-224-2621 — Now deep in Senate "leadership" and apparently hungry for more of that Schumer-Murray magic.
▪ Michael Bennet — 202-224-5852 — Mr. Bipartisan. As chair of the DSCC, he oversaw the 2014 election losses, then afterward said he worried that Republicans would be mad at him.
▪ Ron Wyden — 202-224-5244 — The worst. As Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, he was lead perp in the Senate, patient zero for the fatal infection. He deserves an expensive lobbyist office filled with very uncomfortable chairs — soon.
Their phone numbers are above. Do you vote in Washington, Colorado or Oregon ? Are you a donor to senatorial campaigns? Feel free to pick up the phone and speak your mind. They've certainly spoken theirs, or the minds of their "investors," to borrow Meyerson's phrase.
But What About the Senate?
But what about "the Senate," you ask? First, is this a Senate worth fighting for? Second, with votes like these, do you think candidates like these are more likely or less likely to continue the party debranding that led to the 2014 results?
U.S. trade deficit since 1960. That "steep NAFTA slide" starts in 1994, one of Bill Clinton's signature accomplishments.
Frankly, if you really want a better Senate (I do), abandon all twelve names on the graphic above — let their "investors" take care of them — and elect Blue America candidates like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Russ Feingold and P.G. Sittenfeld. You can help by contributing here.