TPP Deal Has Been Signed But... It Still Has No Basis In Law. Bernie Would Scrap It; Would The Establishment Candidates?
When I was around 16 I decided to leave home and go to the most remote place on earth, an island kingdom called Tonga. I hitch-hiked from Brooklyn to San Pedro (the Los Angeles harbor) to stow away on a ship to Hawaii so I could stow away on a ship to New Zealand so I could get on the twice annual mail boat to Tonga. And start my new life. I got caught hiding in a lifeboat on the first ship before the ship to Hawaii had left San Pedro. Chances are something would have gone wrong sooner or later on that plan. Tonga may have been the most remote place on earth but New Zealand was-- and still is-- pretty remote as well. Today-- last last night local time-- representatives of the 12 nations that are party to the TPP are signing the deal in New Zealand... where mobs of angry workers can't get at them.
Tuesday Gaius wrote a TPP piece mentioning that U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue had made a couple of predictions regarding the TPP. One was that Congress won't vote on it until after November and the other was that after November, if she winds up in the White House, the fake progressive side of Hillary will be discarded and her conservative core will come out and back the TPP. You know this video, right, where Hillary admits she's "a moderate," which is Beltway-speak for "conservative?
Anyway, she'll say she's a progressive-- depending on who she's speaking to-- right up until the nomination. And she'll claim she's against the TPP as well. It won't matter for now because, despite the signing ceremony today, this thing won't go into effect until Congress approves it-- all of it (no changes). And they're not going to do that so fast. It's not that the corporate whores who run the congressional GOP oppose it-- they don't-- but they don't want to give Obama a "victory," even if its a victory for something they back themselves.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said that while the TPP could potentially provide the U.S with an economic boost, the agreement has several major problems that must be resolved before lawmakers can consider taking a vote on the sweeping deal.Tuesday Elizabeth Warren urged her Senate colleagues to vote to defeat the package (watch the video below). Bernie said yesterday he would "fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to benefit working families, not just the CEOs of large, multinational corporations. Arguing that the TPP "would tilt the playing field even more in favor of a big multinational corporations and against working families," Warren called on Congress to "use its constitutional authority to stop this deal before it makes things even worse and even more dangerous for America's hardest-working families." When the Senate approved fast-track authority for the bill last June, Warren was one of 38 senators to vote no, 35 of them Democrats. Of the 13 corporate Democrats voting in favor of Fast Track Authority all have endorsed Hillary for president and several of the worst conservatives among them, like McCaskill, are her surrogates:
Brady told reporters after the panel’s retreat Monday that the TPP discussions with the Obama administration are part of the process to examine “areas where we believe the White House could have negotiated more strongly and in a more beneficial way for our American workers and businesses.”
...Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, told reporters there is plenty of work ahead, and he doesn’t expect Congress to consider a final deal until the end of the year... The contentious issues include intellectual property protections for high-tech biologic medicines and a carve-out for tobacco that has agitated tobacco-state lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
...In the months ahead, [U.S. Trade Representative Michael] Froman said the White House will engage Congress in four key areas to build TPP support-- meetings and hearings with lawmakers and committees, enforcement of the deal’s commitments, working with members on how TPP’s implementation will address any challenges they have identified and releasing a series of detailed reports on how the agreement meets congressional and U.S. policy objectives.
How fast the White House and Congress can wrap up talks on the massive agreement will likely dictate when the House and Senate might take a vote.
...Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers support the agreement and are trying to work out the remaining knots while actively lobbying for the deal's passage.
[Head of the Wall Street-owned New Dems] Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who supported the president's efforts to obtain trade promotion authority last summer, said the signing is important because it reflects the support of the 11 other nations in the deal.
...Labor unions and the majority of congressional Democrats oppose the expansive agreement, arguing that the pact will result in lost U.S. jobs and decreased wages.
On Wednesday morning, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), both vocal opponents of the agreement, are joining MoveOn to deliver 1 million petitions calling on Congress to reject the agreement.
"Americans cannot afford to enter into a trade agreement with foreign countries that do not meet our nation’s rigorous standards," DeLauro said in a statement.
Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, called the signing “an affront to the communities, clean air and water and climate that would be threatened by the deal’s flawed rules."
“It's more important than ever before to urge Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Soloman said.
• Michael Bennet (D-CO)
• Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
• Tom Carper (D-DE)
• Chris Coons (D-DE)
• Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
• Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
• Tim Kaine (D-VA)
• Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
• Patty Murray (D-WA)
• Bill Nelson (D-FL)
• Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
• Mark Warner (D-VA)
• Ron Wyden (D-OR)