Another Obama-Democrat rift opening over free-trade fastracking?

posted at 2:31 pm on January 25, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

While Democrats will be undoubtedly effusive about several of the economic-agenda items about which President Obama is likely to proselytize and subsequently harangue Republicans in his State of the Union address next week — more fake stimulus ideas, extending unemployment insurance, false explanations for income inequality, blah blah blah — I’m wondering how much play he’ll give to an idea that might actually  garner a little more Republican applause than Democrat.

Things are a little uncomfortable right now with some members of his coalition on a few ObamaCare-related conundrums and furthering pending sanctions for Iran, and earlier this month, a few lawmakers unveiled legislation that would give the president powers that Clinton, Bush, and Obama himself have used in the past to streamline the process for arranging free-trade agreements with other countries, but which have since expired and the Obama administration is seeking to refresh. Via The Hill:

The White House is making a major push to convince Congress to give the president trade promotion authority (TPA), which would make it easier for President Obama to negotiate pacts with other countries.

A flurry of meetings has taken place in recent days since legislation was introduced to give the president the authority, with U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman meeting with approximately 70 lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate. …

The effort to get Congress to grant Obama trade promotion authority comes as the White House seeks to complete trade deals with the European Union, and a group of Asian and Latin American countries as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. …

Legislation introduced last week to give Obama trade promotion authority was sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), as well as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the ranking member on Finance.

The bill, however, has zero House Democrat co-sponsors — and it doesn’t seem very likely to get them, either. A few GOP leaders are pushing the president to do the right thing and make use of the bully pulpit to highlight the issue if he’s really serious about it, but… that could get awkward. Via the AP:

Already, he is encountering pockets of Democratic resistance, especially from those representing manufacturing states, to his efforts to win congressional approval for renewal of “fast track” negotiating authority. …

Two House Democrats, Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and George Miller of California, sent a letter to Obama last week announcing they had already lined up 151 House Democrats in opposition to what they called “fast-track procedures that usurp Congress’ authority over trade matters.” …

Organized labor is also digging in its heels. “The AFL-CIO opposes this legislation in the strongest of terms and will actively work to block its passage,” said the labor organization’s president, Richard Trumka. “It is past time for the United States to get off the corporate hamster wheel on trade.” …

Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and an Obama antagonist on budget issues, is a top Obama ally in the trade debate. But Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House committee overseeing trade and a strong supporter of Obama on most other economic issues, is a top opponent.

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has hinted that he isn’t keen on putting the measure up for debate in the Senate anytime soon, with Sen. Baucus standing as the lone Democratic supporter from that chamber. I haven’t looked at the text of the legislation and I’m always wary of handing over higher authority to the executive branch, but this definitely doesn’t look like the Obama administration’s worst-ever idea. There can be no denying that freer trade is not the zero-sum game that protectionism-loving special interests make it out to be, but rather a mutually enriching openness that absolutely creates net economic growth for everybody involved.

Obama himself spoke out against this kind of thing when he was running against Hillary, and to some extent, Romney — back when there were unions to appease and their campaign donations to collect, so he can hardly blame his fellow Democrats for taking the intellectually bankrupt low road — but the reality of his other failed big-government policies perpetuating only sluggish economic growth seems to have him singing a different tune.


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“I have a phone, pens, a hammer and a sickle” — obama

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 2:33 PM

A gift for all of you.

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 2:35 PM

“I have a phone, pens, a hammer and a sickle” — obama

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 2:33 PM

And the fact he doesn’t know how to use 3 out of 4 of them.

upinak on January 25, 2014 at 2:36 PM

“But, The Reich must not be questioned!”

—— Barky Hussein the Dog-eating Vacationer

viking01 on January 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

A gift for all of you.

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 2:35 PM

If he gets stuck, drag him through with yer mouse.

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Enough signatures to bring up Mccain censure at the meeting

cmsinaz on January 25, 2014 at 2:44 PM

There can be no denying that freer trade is not the zero-sum game that protectionism-loving special interests make it out to be, but rather a mutually enriching openness that absolutely creates net economic growth for everybody involved.

Pushing down the cost of American labor by making it compete with slave labor helps business and consumers. It helps our trade partners, too.

I wonder who would complain about it?

fadetogray on January 25, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Top of the list for Obama to negotiate generous trade deals:
Iran
and then all the other Muslim countries…

albill on January 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

The White House is making a major push to convince Congress to give the president trade promotion authority (TPA), which would make it easier for President Obama to negotiate pacts with other countries.

In other words, give Obama the authority to enter into treaties with other countries with Senate ratification. Why would anyone vote for that?

Johnnyreb on January 25, 2014 at 3:03 PM

In other words, give Obama the authority to enter into treaties with other countries with without Senate ratification. Why would anyone vote for that?

Johnnyreb on January 25, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Fixed my own typo.

Johnnyreb on January 25, 2014 at 3:03 PM

This used to be illegal.

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Censure of McCain passed by voice vote

cmsinaz on January 25, 2014 at 3:28 PM

There can be no denying that freer trade is not the zero-sum game that protectionism-loving special interests make it out to be, but rather a mutually enriching openness that absolutely creates net economic growth for everybody involved.

I see Orwell’s apprentice has been hard at work.

Stoic Patriot on January 25, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Censure of McCain passed by voice vote

cmsinaz on January 25, 2014 at 3:28 PM

:)

kcewa on January 25, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Right what THIS “President” needs is more Imperial Power….

ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT GOP!

Yay YOU

harlekwin15 on January 25, 2014 at 3:47 PM

This used to be illegal.

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM

I’m old enough I remember when three FBI files were a felony and Misuse of the IRS was an Impeachable Offense.

harlekwin15 on January 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Unions resist free trade because it brings them competition. Fast-track prevents them from getting their pet Democratic officials from adding bogus environmental and labor regulations to trade pacts that would either just kill the deals or protect the unions.

Free trade proponents have oversold the benefits in the past, they are not always immediate and there are trade-offs: freer trade hastens the evolution of the market, so some job categories will disappear in some countries even as new ones arise. The fact that trade is on balance a great benefit is small solace to those who lose their jobs or businesses to competiton.

And fighting trade pacts doesn’t change the future of those doomed jobs and industries, it just buys a little time so maybe your children get to deal with the problems instead of you. Doing so, however, makes the eventual adjustments more difficult.

Adjoran on January 25, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Adjoran on January 25, 2014 at 4:04 PM

I am a Free Trade Proponent, I am not a fan of unilateral power.

Further I predicted here after election 08 that sooner or later Obama would use the US military to aid Radical Islam.

He did not let me down, we give him this power he is gonna enrich Iran by declaring them MFN.

The GOP is insane.

harlekwin15 on January 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Organized labor is also digging in its heels. “The AFL-CIO opposes this legislation in the strongest of terms and will actively work to block its passage,” said the labor organization’s president, Richard Trumka. “It is past time for the United States to get off the corporate hamster wheel on trade.”

Is it just me that sees the schizophrenic nature of the AFL-CIO not supporting free trade, but wanting amnesty for 30 million criminal border jumpers who will steal the working man and woman’s paycheck?

dogsoldier on January 25, 2014 at 4:31 PM

The GOP is insane.

harlekwin15 on January 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM

They are helping Zero give fully automatic weapons to Al Qaeda, in Syria and Iraq.

Yet they want to stop us from owning even semi auto weapons.

dogsoldier on January 25, 2014 at 4:34 PM

They are helping Zero give fully automatic weapons to Al Qaeda, in Syria and Iraq.

Yet they want to stop us from owning even semi auto weapons.

dogsoldier on January 25, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Yup I cannot believe I donated to John “WAR WAR WAR” McCain…

He thinks it is a GREAT thing to be aiding Al Qaeda in Syria.

I fear that both parties have been subverted by Islam.

harlekwin15 on January 25, 2014 at 4:55 PM

I fear that both parties have been subverted by Islam.

harlekwin15 on January 25, 2014 at 4:55 PM

or money.

dogsoldier on January 25, 2014 at 5:26 PM

“I have a phone, pens, a hammer and a sickle” — obama

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 2:33 PM

….for a second there…I thought you had an ‘i’ between the n and the s…

KOOLAID2 on January 25, 2014 at 6:42 PM

….for a second there…I thought you had an ‘i’ between the n and the s…

KOOLAID2 on January 25, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Valerie Jarrett-Bobbitt and Michelle FLOTUS-Bobbitt have that covered.

ElectricPhase on January 25, 2014 at 7:41 PM

There is fighting among the anti-Assad factions in Syria. Figuring out who is who is the tricky part.

I am a Free Trade Proponent, I am not a fan of unilateral power.

Ditto. Cracked me up as I passed through MSNBC the other day and found I agree with Ed on something (but for very very very different reasons).

MaggiePoo on January 25, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Legislation introduced last week to give Obama trade promotion authority was sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), as well as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the ranking member on Finance.

Republicans should be opposing giving the executive branch anymore of the authority that is granted to the legislative branch under the constitution.

paulsur on January 25, 2014 at 8:09 PM

I am a Free Trade Proponent, I am not a fan of unilateral power.

Further I predicted here after election 08 that sooner or later Obama would use the US military to aid Radical Islam.

He did not let me down, we give him this power he is gonna enrich Iran by declaring them MFN.

The GOP is insane.

harlekwin15 on January 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Perhaps you should get a clue what you are talking about before hitting “Submit Comment.”

“Fast Track Authority” doesn’t give Obama or any President unilateral power to make trade agreements. It only provides that any negotiated agreement gets an up-or-down vote without amendments.

It is in the amending process that unions attempt to derail the deals by imposing unrealistic labor and/or environmental terms the other countries cannot agree to.

All “Fast Track” agreements still require ratification.

Adjoran on January 25, 2014 at 11:06 PM