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Posts Tagged ‘George Zornick’

Some progressives threw up their hands Tuesday after the Senate voted for closing debate on fast-track trade legislation. It’s all over, they said: The nearly completed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is certain to pass now.

Not so fast.

Although the Senate will undoubtedly approve fast-track legislation today—the trade promotion authority bill only needs 51 votes—the despair and talk of surrender on the TPP shouldn’t be on anyone’s agenda. Certainly, it’s true that blocking that agreement will be exceedingly tough. But it is by no means impossible. George Zornick at The Nation writes:

Without question, fast track makes the TPP much more likely to pass. No amendments can gum up the process or chase off support, and we already can easily see there are 50 votes in the Senate based on the fast-track votes. But the House remains no sure thing for the TPP. Fast track twice passed by only two votes.

When the TPP actually comes out, there will be some really ugly details that are likely to enrage liberals and solidify opposition among Democrats, not too mention some Republicans. For months the White House has been dodging some criticisms of the TPP by stressing that the text isn’t final, but that will no longer be an option. […]

On the Republican side, Boehner will almost surely have a more difficult time gathering Republican votes for the TPP than he did for fast track. One argument frequently made by Republicans during the congressional fast-track debate was that it benefited the GOP, too—that it was also a vote to give a theoretical Republican president in 2017 immense power to shape trade deals without congressional meddling. That has no application to the TPP debate.

One of the leading anti-fast-track foes—Public Citizen—plans to fight on. Robert Weisman, president of the organization, said in a statement:

Today’s action means that Congress will tie its hands to prevent it from exerting positive influence over negotiations of the TPP. It means that the final TPP agreement will very likely include provisions empowering foreign corporations to sue our own government for policies that they claim impinge on their expected future profits. It means that the final TPP will very likely include provisions that will extend Big Pharma monopolies, raising prices for consumers and health systems—and, even in the United States, and especially in the poorer TPP countries, denying people access to needed medical treatment. It means that the final TPP will very likely include provisions undermining our food safety.

What it doesn’t mean is that Congress must pass such a TPP.

Losing on fast-track was a major defeat. But it should not induce anyone to surrender in this crucial fight.

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