Thursday, June 18, 2015

28 Democrats vote to Offshore more Jobs...

... and to raise drug prices for seniors — and without funding the re-training of workers who are displaced by trade deals.

Huffington Post: House Will Move Thursday On Clean Fast-Track Bill: After the clean TPA bill is passed and sent to the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will then attach TAA to the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a separate trade bill involving African countries.

US News and World Report: Boehner and McConnell struck a compromise to link TAA with an uncontroversial bill extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 10 years, which has typically passed without much opposition ... Slightly different versions of the Africa bill passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly earlier this year, but supporters fear adding TAA to it could make it much harder reach a compromise to send to the president because Republicans overwhelmingly oppose it. “AGOA may be caught up in the controversy around other trade legislation that has nothing to do with AGOA, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., urged her colleagues in a letter Wednesday. 

“The Senate should follow its initial instinct and approve the version of AGOA that the House passed this month so it can go to President Obama for his signature in order to benefit American businesses and the American workers whose jobs rely on it.”

Huffington Post: The GOP-led House of Representatives started over on trade Thursday, passing a fresh bill to give President Barack Obama sweeping powers to negotiate massive international agreements. The measure would grant Obama and the next president what's known as Trade Promotion Authority, allowing the White House to fast-track through Congress a string of enormous trade pacts, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement -- covering well over half the global economy. The House voted 218 to 208 for the bill, with 28 Democrats in favor and 50 Republicans opposed...The new strategy came after days of phone calls, meetings and intense planning with the White House, the Senate GOP and House Republicans. They decided to put a clean fast-track bill on the floor -- free of any ties to the worker aid program.

Huffington Post: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) provided a grim outlook on Thursday about the future of legislation funding a worker aid program that will be key for pushing President Barack Obama’s trade agenda over the finish line. The program, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, helps workers who have lost their jobs to trade deals. Last week, House Democrats killed TAA, a program they generally support, in order to stall Obama's broader trade plans, which they oppose. 'I don’t see a path right now for TAA,' Pelosi told reporters when asked whether she thought it would make it through Congress and to the president’s desk."

NPR: The Wall Street Journal reports, "the course forward is uncertain. The fate of the fast-track legislation is intertwined with a related measure to help workers hurt by international trade. Many pro-trade Senate Democrats say they won't vote for the fast-track bill without evidence the workers' aid program will pass both chambers."

The bill now goes to the Senate, where the White House and GOP leaders are seeking to strike a deal with pro-trade Democrats. The House vote was 218-208, with 28 Democrats voting for it. The 28 Democrats who voted for fast-track in the House's first vote last Thursday — plus 3 others who didn't vote:

Earl Blumenauer OR
Gerry Connolly VA
Jim Cooper TN
Henry Cuellar TX
John Delaney MD
Eddie Bernice Johnson TX
Ron Kind WI
Rick Larsen WA
Susan Day CA
Sam Farr CA
R Hinojosa TX
Gregory Meeks NY
Scott Peters CA
Jim Costa CA
Debbie Wasserman Schultz FL
James Heinz CT
Jared Polis CO
Kurt Schrader OR
Mike Quigley IL
Terri Sewell AL
Suzanne Bonamici OR
Suzan DelBene WA
Ami Bera CA
Beto O'Rourke TX
Derek Kilmer WA
Brad Ashford NE
Kathleen Rice NY
Donald Beyer VA


  1. The middle class was sold out long ago when Bill Clinton signed NAFTA. Multi-national corporations rule this country... not the people.

    as far as TAA goes it's hogwash. I worked for a company in Connecticut called Winchester Electronics Corp. (now owned by a private equity firm called The Audax Group that was spun off of Mitt Romney's Bain Capital by a couple of former Bain employees). They have consistently outsourced and the government has granted them TAA on almost every occasion of job cuts. When I was let go in 2008 when the economy cratered (thanks W) ... i asked about TAA and it's not available to white collar workers, even though they outsourced almost all their white collar engineering jobs to Mexico and China. Very few people actually receive any type of relevant training for employment in a different field that works out. Most of the time if they do, their salary or wages are a fraction of what they were at the former manufacturing job.

    It's a scam. This is all to enrich the .01% at the expense of working people.

    You can now hammer the last nail into the coffin of the American middle class.

  2. I think they will pull a bait and switch. They can change the legislation after passing the bill by "conference" between both branches of Congress (Senate and House) and basically do whatever their corporate sponsors want. This is bill clearly corporate driven, and corporations almost always get what they demand.

  3. The whole scoop is at Naked Capitalism: "TPP: 13 Democratic Senators Invite Republicans to Make Them Laughing Stocks — and More Serious Matters"

    * Editors' Note: 13 Democrats, Obama, and all (but 5) Republicans in the Senate wanted fast-track for trade deals. That makes 13 Democrats in the Senate "free traitors" to working Americans and makes Obama a Republican president.