Joe Firestone: Administration Tries to Resurrect Toxic Trade Deals After Big Defeat. Will It Succeed?

Yves here. Alan Grayson sent an e-mail about the latest ruse to get Fast Track passed. The opening part of his message has his call to action, and by now, his “tomorrow” is today, so PLEASE call some of the numbers below and give them a piece of your mind.

Let me get right to the point; then I’ll dawdle later. There will be a surprise House vote on the Fast Track trade giveaway bill tomorrow. It will be a very close vote. If you want Fast Track to fail, you should call one or more of these Democrats, who voted in favor of Fast Track last week. If only four of them vote against it tomorrow, then we will win. Here is the list:

Rep. Ami Bera (Calif.) – 202-225-5716
Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.) – (202) 225-3341
Rep. Susan Davis (Calif.) – (202) 225-2040
Rep. Sam Farr (Calif.) – (202) 225-2861
Rep. Jared Polis (Colo.) – (202) 225-2161
Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.) – (202) 225-4061
Rep. John Delaney (Md.) – (202) 225-2721
Rep. Brad Ashford (Neb.) – (202) 225-4155
Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) – (202) 225-3461
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) – (202) 225-4811
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) – (202) 225-0855
Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) – (202) 225-5711
Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.) – (202) 225-4311
Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas) – (202) 225-1640
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) – (202) 225-8885
Rep. Don Beyer (Va.) – (202) 225-4376
Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.) – (202) 225-1492
Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.) – (202) 225-2605
Rep. Derek Kilmer (Wash.) – (202) 225-5916
Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) – (202) 225-5506
Rep. Suzan DelBene (Wash.) – (202) 225-6311
Rep. Jim Himes (Ct.) – (202) 225-5541
Rep. Hinojosa (Tex.) – (202) 225-2531
Rep. O’Rourke (Tex.) – (202) 225-4831
Rep. Peters (Calif.) – (202) 225-0508
Rep. Rice (N.Y.) – (202) 225-5516
Rep. Sewell (Ala.) – (202) 225-2665

If I were you, I would stop reading here, and start calling.

By Joe Firestone, Ph.D., Managing Director, CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), and Director of KMCI’s CKIM Certificate program. He taught political science as the graduate and undergraduate level and blogs regularly at Corrente, Firedoglake and New Economic Perspectives. Originally published at CorrenteJoe

Well, that didn’t take too long. The wonks in the White House, the Republican Leadership and the “free trade” Democrats, have hatched another devious process for passing the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, otherwise known as Fast Track. It has the following steps:

– Step one: the House passes a TPA bill without passing Trade Adjustments Assistance (TAA); then

– Step two: the Republicans in the Senate give assurances to Senate Democrats that TAA will be passed by the Senate and later the House;

– Step three: the Senate then passes the House’s TPA bill, and then sends it to the President; then

– Step four: the Senate passes an amendment to another piece of legislation (not clear yet whether the plan will use the Trade Preferences bill, or the African Growth and Opportunity bill (AGOA), and incorporate TAA in one of those); then

– Step five: the House passes TAA with the help of Democrats, because once TPA is passed Democrats will have no incentive to vote against TAA.

Under this plan, they say, the President and the Republicans get what they want, and so do the free trade Democrats (as without their saying it do the funders of both parties). In addition, the free trade Democrats have the TAA fig leaf they believe they need to defend them against primary challengers and Republicans who may run against them saying that the sold out American workers and national sovereignty to foreigners.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t It? But here are the process problems with it.

Step one assumes that a clean TPA bill can pass the House. Proponents of this step assume that this will happen because 191 Republicans and 28 Democrats, a total of 219 members of the House, passed such a bill last Friday, June 12th, while 54 Republicans and 157 Democrats, or 211 members voted to defeat it.

What those who claim that this previous vote is a strong indicator of what a new vote on TPA sans any formal tie would bring don’t mention, is that: 1) the TPA vote on Friday came after the defeat of a TAA bill whose passage was necessary for passage of the TPA to be effective in moving both pieces of legislation to the President, so for many of the people who voted for the TPA on that occasion, that vote must have seemed to be a throwaway; and 2) the successful TPA vote occurred five minutes after the TAA defeat, with the anti-TPA forces in both parties jubilant, and probably not focusing fully on the TPA vote and its implications, or whipping for the anti-TPA side.

To assess the likely difficulties of winning a TPA vote now, I think one has to consider that even on what was thought be a vote that was purely symbolic and much more of a party line vote, at least for Republicans, there were still 54 Republicans who voted against the TPA bill. In addition, even though, the upcoming new vote for the de-coupled TPA is formally totally unrelated to TAA legislation, everyone on the tea party anti-TPA side will still know, or will be told by tomorrow morning, that a vote for the new TPA is also a vote that will enable the TAA to pass, and is in that sense also a vote for TAA, so that those who vote for the TPA can still be charged with failing to vote to defeat the TAA, even if they go on record against the TAA when it gets back to the House, assuming that the Senate passes the new TAA projected in the story the Leaders are telling.

So, how important can the de-coupling fig leaf be for the Republican tea partiers? Will Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Heritage Political Action, Jeff Sessions, and Breitbart, give the tea partiers who vote for the TPA a pass and refrain from primarying “the traitors” next spring? I’m sorry, but I doubt that.

So, I’m thinking that there’s a good chance that the Republican vote against the TPA in a vote that counts will turn out to be somewhere between the 54 Republicans previously recorded against the TPA, and the 158 previously recorded against the TAA in that vote last Friday. Even if the 158 falls to 75 Republicans that would still mean a gain of 21 votes for the anti-TPA forces over the earlier TPA House roll call.

On the Democratic side, last Friday, 40 Democrats, first voted for the TAA, and 28 then voted for the TPA. That 28 total was a mild surprise, since pre-vote expectations were between 22 and 25, which would have either caused the TPA to fail, or its margin of victory to have been even more razor thin on Friday than it was. So, what would a new vote on the TPA produce?

First, I think the 40 votes for the TAA are not a good indicator of support for a standalone TPA, because there was plenty of evidence during the first vote on Friday that all potential votes against the TAA would not be needed by Democrats to defeat TPA on that day. So, for those Democrats who didn’t want to be recorded against TAA at all, there was no reason for them to take that risk if they were uncomfortable about it. So, the Democrats could afford to lose those votes because there was a Republican stampede against the TAA, due to the extent of tea party lobbying against it.

Second, I also don’t think that the 28 House Democratic votes on Friday are a good indicator of what Democrats will produce for the President tomorrow, because all 28 Democrats who voted for the TPA were not needed to defeat it then, since from their point of view the TAA vote had already defeated it. The Democrats, in other words, could soften the blow of the TAA vote to their President by seeing to to it that Democratic votes were not enough to defeat the TPA roll call itself.

I think these considerations suggest that the expectation that the 219 – 211 TPA vote last Friday is a good indicator of what will happen in the new vote, reportedly expected tomorrow, may well be mistaken. When it really counts and every possible Democratic vote is needed to defeat the TPA, those votes may prove to be there and the Democratic vote for the TPA may shrink to the 20 – 23 range expected last week or even lower.

Third, this view is reinforced by Hillary Clinton’s attempting to distance herself from the pro-TPA forces last weekend. Of course, she didn’t directly say she was opposed to TPA, but she did endorse Nancy Pelosi’s stated view that “fast-track” ought to be slowed down until we know more about what’s in the various trade deals it would enable, and, in context, this is material opposition to the President’s views on TPA and the views of its supporters. Hillary, also knows very well, that if fast-track is slowed in response to her call, and consideration of it kicks over into this summer, that this delay might very well kill TPA, since foreign nations may drop negotiations if they believe that the President cannot deliver on TPA and that, consequently, the trade deals being negotiated would have to bring Congress into the negotiations process.

If other nations back off the trade deals response to this perceived prospect then all three trade deals would be dead for the near future, and Hillary Clinton would not have to worry about them. And, also, there is evidence that Hillary Clinton is worried about them as a political issue, and would just like them to go away for awhile. In fact, with her polling numbers falling and Berne Sanders pressing her to declare a position on the trade deal, I think we can well believe the view that an intense wish of her campaign right now is that trade issues go away without further ado.

But who can make that happen for her? I think it is the “free trade” Democrats; people like Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Jim Himes, Kathleen Rice, Earl Blumenauer, Gregory Meeks, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The 28 Democrats involved are Obama Democrats, of course. But they are as much Clinton Democrats, and Obama is their past, while Clinton is their future in the Democratic Party, if they have one. So, they must be dismayed to see her poll numbers falling, and if they believe that their making the trade deals go away will help her, then I think that will weigh in their TPA vote tomorrow or the day after.

Step two seems to assume that the Senate “free trade” Democrats will trust the assurances they get from Senate Republicans even though no TAA provision is in the TPA bill. Some of the 14 Senate Democrats involved may accept such assurances as made in good faith. But they may doubt the capability of Senator McConnell to ensure that they get their TAA fig leaf. And, if they don’t get it, will people like Tim Kaine, Michael Bennet, Patty Murray, Chris Coons, and Ron Wyden, running in 2016, be able to explain why they trusted Republican assurances and left workers without protection against negative trade impacts?

Step three assumes that most of the Senate free trade Democrats will not defect over the lack of the TAA, but 1) the Democrats have received assurances about passage of legislation renewing the Ex-Im bank, and that has not yet been forthcoming due to opposition in the House and Mitch McConnell not scheduling a vote in the Senate, and 2) TAA support was just defeated in the House where 158 Republicans opposed it with TPA on the line, so “free trade” Senate Democrats may be forgiven for perhaps thinking that once TPA is passed, there may be many more Republican votes against TAA despite Boehner’s guarantees that he can get it passed so Democratic Senators can have their fig leaf.

Step four will probably work in the Senate; but again, there is no guarantee except Boehner’s that if it works in the Senate, then the House will follow through on Boehner’s guarantee by completing step five. The Senate Democrats, even if they trusted Boehner, would have to risk that he can keep control of enough of his caucus to command the 30 votes that would have to be added to the Democrats 188 to get a majority for TAA at that point and deliver on his guarantee.

And if they did risk that and win, then what they would gain would be the enmity of progressive Democrats, Labor, as well as months of controversy while the Democrats fight for a “no” vote on TPP and the other trade deals, in the TPA up or down process, when they are finally made public. Conflicts over these trade deals would haunt these Senate Democrats through next spring at least, approaching the primary season, and they would also haunt their favorite candidate for President in 2016, who is undoubtedly Hillary Clinton, for reasons already mentioned in connection with House Democrats.

So, in the end, I think the Boehner, Ryan, Obama plan I’ve outlined here, has serious problems, and that the view that it is likely to pass is way oversimplified. I mean by this, that it may be right, and that it may be that the President is about to win his requirement for his trade deals, but also, that the justifications I’ve seen for the view that it is likely to pass are in the nature of one or a few statements, amounting to the idea that the previous TPA votes in the House and the Senate were both successful, and the future will be like the past, without giving adequate consideration to the ways in which the present context of voting is different from the earlier votes.

In other words, the “free trade” deals may well fail again in this upcoming vote. And the Administration may then have to rely on a fast one by Boehner between now and July 30th to pass TAA in the House on a re-vote of roll call 361, when the Democratic and Republican votes of last Friday have gone to sleep and cannot be mobilized for the critical vote.

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  1. Kokuanani

    – Step two: the Republicans in the Senate give assurances to Senate Democrats that TAA will be passed by the Senate and later the House;

    See Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football.

    1. Cugel

      The only thing I can think of is that these traitor Senators like Michael Bennett don’t think the public will care about the trade deal or they can get away with being generally “in favor” of “free trade” without anybody calling them on it. But, this will generate controversy, and of course, whoever Republicans run against them next spring will not hesitate to use these trade votes against them, regardless of logic or consistency. Hypocrisy never stopped big money PACs from running ads against Democrats for “voting to cut Medicare” when said Republicans were all on record SUPPORTING Medicare cuts.

      This will be no different. “Michael Bennett voted 3 times for Obama’s trade agreement that will send our jobs overseas to China!” The ads write themselves.

    2. Cugel

      Well, we’re officially on to step 2, since the House passed Fast-Track and sent it to the Senate this afternoon:

      From Global Trade Watch:

      House Punts Fast Track Problem Back to Senate; Path to Approval Unclear

      Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

      Today, the House employed yet another procedural gimmick to punt the Fast Track problem back to the Senate, where its fate remains at best unclear as Americans’ concerns that more of the same trade policy would kill more jobs and push down our wages remain unaddressed.

      Because Republican House members would not support the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) part of the Senate-passed Fast Track package last week, the GOP leadership today had to resort to a Fast Track-only vote, but what exactly that achieves is unclear. Senate Democrats, including those needed to obtain cloture for a stand-alone Fast Track bill, are demanding that the TAA be reinserted into the Fast Track bill or be passed by both chambers before agreeing to support Fast Track. In addition, key Democratic senators are insisting on the fulfilment by Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of a promised vote to reauthorize the Export-Import bank – which was the condition for the deciding bloc of Senate Democrats to support cloture on Fast Track in the first instance in May. Meanwhile, House GOP lawmakers remain strongly opposed to TAA and Ex-Im reauthorization. As House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stated today, there is no clear path for enactment of TAA. Yet yesterday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that President Obama requires both Fast Track and TAA to come to his desk.

      That two years of effort by a vast corporate coalition, the White House and GOP leaders – and weeks of procedural gimmicks and deals swapped for yes votes – has resulted in this continuing standoff and no Fast Track enacted spotlights the dim prospects not only for adoption of Fast Track but also for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      This weekend, the millions of Americans across the political spectrum actively campaigning against Fast Track will intensify their efforts to ensure the Senate permanently retires the Nixon-era scheme. America needs a new process for negotiating and approving trade agreements if we are to achieve deals that create American jobs and raise our wages.

      The question is whether the corporate whores in the Democratic Senate can find a way to get their fig leaves. My guess would be that they quietly drop their demand for re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank, which House Republicans oppose, and accept a meaningless lie from GOP leadership about authorizing a TAA vote “later” – as in later when Hell freezes.

      The only hope I see at this point, is to punt it all back to the House with a demand that the House first pass TAA and send both bills to the Senate before they will take up TPA. I’m not particularly hopeful they will do that however.

      Then Obama signs Fast-Track while stating that the Congress must now pass TAA (knowing full well that they won’t.) This basically mirrors his strategy on immigration reform for 3 years. Border security now, and meaningless statements that Congress should pass immigration reform, knowing all the time that they won’t.

      1. ratpatrol

        The only round left in “the chamber” to disable TPA is a HOLD ACTION by a Senator this next week. Tammy Baldwin? Bernie Sanders? Harry Reid? Rand Paul? Jeff Sessions? The Republicans have been adept and relentless on using hold actions on Presidential nominees and other Senate business. Time for a Dem or two to step up!

  2. sleepy

    the TPA vote on Friday came after the defeat of a TAA bill whose passage was necessary for passage of the TPA to be effective in moving both pieces of legislation to the President, so for many of the people who voted for the TPA on that occasion, that vote must have seemed to be a throwaway;

    I hope that’s correct, but I could see it cutting both ways–while some may have voted for it for that reason, it seems that some may have voted against it because it was a throwaway vote

  3. Chauncey Gardiner

    Just tried to phone my representative’s office where I was also told his mailbox is full. The manner in which this legislation is being handled is the very antithesis of representative democracy. And all after his big speech in the “town hall meeting” last week about reducing the influence of “big money” on elections.

    TAA is a red herring.

    1. jrs

      I find this “mailbox being full” odd. I always get an intern or whatever for the Rep and they say they’ll pass it on. However my Reps a D who won’t take a formal position but has always voted against (TPA, TAA etc.), so …

      I’ve never been unable to reach congress before including the Senate offices. I’ve always reached somebody (of course Feinstein still voted for it, I didn’t say they always listen). How common is it for “mailboxes to be full”? Don’t they usually have staff to answer the phones? Of course in asking this question, I cynically I suspect a deliberate avoidance of the public opinion’s is going on with those congressmembers.

      1. jrs

        Don’t they have staff and also of course if the staff is insufficient for the “high volume of calls”, they could put you in a wait queue, every other government agency does (the Social Security administration, the IRS if you manage to get past the automation, as heckish as they are to deal with). It’s horrible to hold those things up as examples but at least you sometimes actually reach someone. Our congresspeople least reachable part of government?

    2. Vatch

      Perhaps you called before the office officially opened? Their business hours are usually listed on their web sites. 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM or 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM are common (Eastern time zone). If you have a chance, please try again during those hours.

      1. Jill

        If the office is closed there is often a message machine.

        Also, my husband is a combat vet who was wounded in battle, He usually refuses to talk about this in any way but I convinced him now was the time!

        We received much better reception when he told them about his service. Other vets, I understand that many of you may not want to say anything either, but it truly did seem to make a difference in the reception we got.

        1. Vatch

          When Chauncey called his Representative’s office, the voice mail box was full. That’s why I asked him to try again during normal hours.

          Thanks for your suggestion about veterans’ calls to Congress.

  4. Daniel Pennell

    Called Conley’s office.

    Left a message with staffer saying that we have 30 yrs of history with these deals and not one has worked for the average American.

    Told him that if Wall Street wants it and K Street wants then no way can it be good for Main Street.

  5. weakling

    so disheartening. i don’t even know where to begin. all this wrangling and re-dos for a bill that fails to pass, that a seeming plurality of the citizenry clearly doesn’t want passed.

    these arcane rules and gambits just seem to lead to corruption and cronyism, trading of favors, promises for support of local pet projects, and on and on.

  6. DJG

    Yes, they will be shutting off the phones. Send letters and post cards. Use the beleaguered USPS, and remind the congresspeeps that they ruined the postal service, too, so that they don’t have much of a record in economic “reforms.”

    1. ambrit

      Do like I’m going to do as soon as the office opens, Nine around here, and go on down to the representatives local office, if there is one in your town, and make your views known. I’m going to take a rough draft letter with me with all the identifying information to hand to the staffer. Here might be a sleepy half-horse town, but I’d expect some of the larger cities offices could get busy. Make it easy for the staffer. It’s the numbers that count.

    2. jrs

      Also someone suggested faxes. Those letters won’t get there today (even if they are sent expediated? maybe FedEx will arrive faster (I don’t like that, but we make war with the army we have), but even then if it’s today …). Mail is getting slower and slower, but the average letter used to arrive in a few days of course, not one. But mail maybe for the Senate.

      1. Vatch

        Physical letters are always delayed by a week or more. They run the letters through security procedures to check for mysterious powder and pathogens.

        When there’s plenty of time, a physical letter is the best. But when time is short, a phone call or a fax is needed.

  7. ambrit

    Called my Republican representative yesterday and told his staffer that if he voted for TPA he would be primaried from the Right. McDaniel has been making noises about challenging Palazzo. McDaniel being Tea Party, and popular with not only the base Repubs here, but the general electorate as well, a National Sovereignty attack could unseat the incumbent.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Despite the marginalization of the Teabaggers since Romney was done, the Teabagger candidates won every primary against a “yes” vote for the bailouts. The GOP elite might have let their monster off the leash.

    2. ian

      Basically what I did. I got a patronizing form letter back from my representative (Mimi Walters) explaining all the wonderful things that TPP would do for us. I kept it simple and just stated I would remember this next primary.

  8. jonboinAR

    My congressman here in SW Arkansas is Bruce Westerman (R). As far as I’ve been able to tell, he’s pro TPP all the way. I’ve called him and emailed him more than once. He’s sent me a letter allowing as to how the will help Arkansas cattle ranchers and small industries. I’ll call his office again and register my opinion with the polite, friendly interns there, for the good it’ll do, but what I want to know is, do you (anybody) think it’s helpful for us who live outside of the districts of the swing-democrats that you listed to call their offices? I’ll call some of them during my lunch hour if people think it helps. I just don’t know if the congress-people are really only interested in their own constituents opinion or are they also interested in gauging the mood of the country.

    1. ambrit

      I’d suspect that this is a case of “All politics is local.” The staffers can view the area code that the call comes from. I’d try to round up some friends and neigbhours. How about business phone numbers? Does that count extra? We need someone who has worked in a Congressional staff to chime in.

      1. jonboinAR

        Man, my friends and neighbors are so redneck conservative, I’m a danged librul (and I’m really all that liberal, more a social democrat, I reckon.) I keep quiet, mainly, to keep out of political quarrels. I pissed a couple of people off, you know, the way politics will irrationally make people mad. They didn’t say much, but they were different toward me for awhile. So, I haven’t any idea how to get involved politically, but to call my congressman’s office on issues such as this. At least he knows he doesn’t ONLY represent redneck conservatives.

        1. tim s

          this TPP is an issue that your “redneck conservative” friends and you “danged librul”s can fully agree upon. It may be a new dawn for our falsely divided society to rally around since this is an attack on national sovereignty. Explain it to them that way. Believe me, there is more common ground than most people think.

    2. HotFlash

      OK, appeal based on ignorant greed. You can ‘splain to him and/or his staffers or better yet, constituents, that these trade agreements are only beneficial if the exchange rate is favourable. We here in Canada cleaned up when our dollar was weak against the USD, 80 or 90 cents to yours, more than compensated for additional transport and cross-border costs. Now our dollar is ‘strong’, so, advantage not so much.

      So, appeal to their Patriotism(tm). Ask if they want a weak US dollar vs the Euro? Can’t have it both ways. :)

  9. djrichard

    I’m assuming that they can’t claim that step one has already been achieved with the vote last week, right? Just want to confirm.

    1. Kim Kaufman

      unfortunately, it’s not a live feed because it starts at the beginning not what’s going on right now.

  10. djrichard

    Ask your congressman to stand with Hillary and vote against TPA/TPP. [Not that that’s what Hillary would want now, but if she’s going to co-opt the left, we might as well co-opt her.]

  11. Jill

    Marcy Kaptur’s office said they would be counted on to oppose and continue to oppose TPA. Delbert Latta’s (my so called representative) office refused to say why they were voting for the TPA no matter how either my husband and I pressed them for an answer. No reason at all for selling out national sovereignty. It is outrageous.

    We will get cracking on the other people in the list next.

  12. david

    The TAA is $600 million in total relief / payments to displaced workers from the TPP.

    Assuming “only” 1 million workers lose their jobs (will be much, much more) that comes to $600.00 per worker – one time payment.

    or….. $11.54 per week assuming they are only out of a job for a year plus 6 months unemployment compensation – they will never get the same job again at that level of compensation

    I don’t get it? why would this be in any way an offset to the destructive Obama TPP?

      1. jrs

        But even if they’ll proceed without it (I’ve heard Obama will veto without it but I don’t believe it) they obviously did want it a lot which shows it someone’s gravy train I guess (I don’t buy the wanting a fig leaf that badly), yes someone’s gravy train (for profit retraining centers?), just not the workers so much.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Ach, you’re not supposed to do the math! lol

      You’re so right, though. Here in Washington’s 2nd district, Rick Larsen has been working that fig leaf for all it’s worth, which, as you show, ain’t much in fact. But the criticism may be having an effect.

      What the what?! I meant to link to a Facebook post about TAA, but he iedited it. It used to say, “…a program Democrats started 40 years ago to help people who are hurt by trade.” I and others jumped all over that, saying, stop hurting us with “trade” to begin with. Now it says “negatively affected.” What a weasel.

      It still says TAA has helped 17,500 Washingtonian workers. Since half a ratio tells you nothing, I supplied the other half. And it only took one search to find. Public Citizen reports that 72,192 of us “lost” our jobs due to trade during the NAFTA-WTO era.

      In Washington, there are 72,192 such workers certified as having lost their job due to imports or offshoring under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. (Note: This program is difficult to qualify for, and this figure only includes those workers who were certified.)

      That leaves over 64,000 of us certifiably out of work and out of luck. Who knows how many others also got the shaft. But neolib Dems get to look like they’re riding to our rescue, so go die already.

      Fully funding TAA, to actually help those trade hurts, is obviously a non-starter, tantamount to admitting “free” trade ain’t free, it costs thousands and thousands of jobs. And that’s such a vast understatement, in an era of extra employment nulla sallus.

      And that whole formulation, “lost your job,” galls me to no end. Here’s a true story. I left work one day, painting houses on the local Navy base for damn good money. I went back the very next day and the job was gone. If it had been a tool, like a spray rig, I could’ve called the police and reported it stolen. But the whole damn job was gone (a general contractor, American Eagle, just kept the money that was supposed to build over 400 more houses and I had absolutely no recourse. If I had continued to work it for the the last 9 years, I’d’ve made an easy quarter million, after taxes. Instead I’ve spent 9 years in un- and underemployment, and it’s hell. So pardon me if I get upset whenever I see or hear that loathsome misnomer.

      So what are the next batch of human sacrifices on the neolib altar going to do when they have their jobs stolen, call the very rep who gave it away and beg for crumbs?

  13. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

    We can get that last few votes if we don’t give up. Let’s make it go away!

  14. Deloss Brown

    Rangel voted against the bill last time, and I urged him to repeat. On the list above, reached Ami Bera’s office (she sends me fundraising pleas regularly) and Quigley (I’m originally from Illinois). Everybody took my name and zip code. Confusion to our enemies. Thank you, Yves, and thank you, Alan Grayson.

  15. Jess

    Fat lot of good all those calls did. According to HuffPo, the TSA bill has already passed the House.

    Looks like our last hope is the Senate. Which to me means, no hope at all. (Sorry, Lambert, but can’t help feeling that stripping out TAA isn’t enough to get enough Trade Traitor Dems to change their vote.)

  16. Lambert Strether

    Now: 9 Dem Yes. 4 Repub No.

    If everyone votes, 218 needed to pass. Otherwise less by a few.

    26 R No votes. 20 D Yes votes.

  17. dss

    those thinking Obama just couldn’t be effective in congress, look at this expert politicking. he needs his gift to the one percent to be a Clinton sell-out and make bank after office.

  18. hardWorkingBee

    28 democrats voting yes, so far. I was wrong in saying that our goose will be cooked by this week. The senate will not vote until next week.

    1. Lambert Strether

      It ain’t over ’til it’s over, and if they vote that friggin’ thing in, it’s still not over, and if they manage to get TPP passed and signed it’s not over.

        1. ian

          Weigh in? With what? She is a lousy politician but good enough to avoid answering a direct question or taking a real stand. Her “stand” will be along the lines of “we have to make sure that the legislation includes adequate protection for American workers, the environment, yaddayaddayadda…”
          And by the way, whatever happened to the “poison pill”?

          1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

            Latest from Hillary. As of today, if she were in the Senate, then she would vote against the current version because it doesn’t contain worker protections. Marching orders for Warner and Kaine, or just more Pelosi kabuki.

            1. Lambert Strether

              And preserving her options on TPP. Nevertheless, better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish, and a “back at ya” for the warning shot Axelrove fired. Still, why not before the House vote?

  19. Jess

    Posted by Frosty Zoom on today’s links: TPA passed House 244-181.

    Next week: the Senate sellout.

    How does it feel to witness the end of a nation? (And our Founding Father’s experiment in democracy which, however flawed it was, still proved to be wonderful for a short period.)

  20. willf

    Stop calling them “free trade” democrats. The TPP has nothing to do with “free trade”, and the Democrats pushing for it are not just another faction within the DNC, they are the leadership of the party.

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      That’s why I have the scare quotes. I could have called them “trade traitors.” But I wanted to focus on my doubts about how it would go, rather than the messaging side. Looks like I was too sketical about the mainstream take on this one, and I also thought the tea party would come in stronger in opposing the latest effort.

      1. jrs

        The inside/outside game is a hard one to play. One of these days I’m afraid we’re going to realize we have to play an outside/outside game. Us versus Them (the ruling class), and that includes our “representatives”, they are on the Them side. Even though my Representative voted ok, it’s the whole fricken party (both parties).

  21. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

    Step one of the master plan is over. They won 218-208! It moves on to the Senate. We now have to focus our fire on:

    The 14 Democrats who backed the president included Michael Bennet of Colorado, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, Chris Coons of Delaware, Dianne Feinstein of California, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

    We need to swing the people running next year:

    Bennet, Kaine, Murray, Coons, and Wyden. In addition, Shaheen might be movable if Hillary’s opposition to TPA is strengthened. I’m sure she doesn’t want trade agreements to dominate politics this year. Also, Cardin may be movable if TAA can’t really be guaranteed. lso, a number of others in that group have made strong statements about TAA needing to be passed with TPA. We’ve got to work on all of these people to stop the cloture vote this time around.

    1. Kim Kaufman

      Forget Dianne Feinstein. She doesn’t even have someone answering the phone in D.C. She will not be moved no matter how many calls. But feel free to vent at the local office.

      1. jrs

        That’s what I think when reading this: call Feinstein what a collasal waste of time! But I probably will. And Boxer as well in case she’s thinking of turning traitor. But no new traitors are really needed, unless some of the Democrats above or some trade traitor Republicans turn.

    2. Weirhaus

      Probably best to forget Wyden (D-Nike) as well, as he’s been one of the most vocal proponents of TPP. He’ll campaign on all the political capital he’s amassed at home through his public stands against warrantless wiretapping and other secret govt. overreach. This bit of historical irony ought to be fashioned into an unfathomably large cudgel next year.

  22. TedWa

    Passed with an over-whelming Republican support. When was the last time a Democratic president got a bill passed with over-whelming Republican support? Is he the Republican president or the Democratic president? Neither is the reply.

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      It wasn’t a straight party line vote. 56 Republicans failed to vote for this bill, but it was the 28 Democrats who put it over for Ryan. A few weeks ago, Ryan said he could get 190 R votes. He did. Two weeks ago, the Republicans didn’t appear to have more than 20 Democratic votes. If that had remained the case, then the TPA would have been stopped at 210 votes. Why didn’t that happen? Two words. Nancy Pelosi! Her neutrality, and surreptitious whipping for the TPA forces rather than lining up early with the TPA opposition made it possible for Beyer, Rice, Himes, and others to feel safe in moving over to the TPA position.

      In the end, Pelosi got the result she wanted in the House. She can’t be accused of being the one who robbed Obama of his legacy, and her intervention last Friday to block TAA and the TPA package protected her against a visible repudiation of her caucus that could have created a threat to her leadership.

      Finally, after the TAA was rejected last week so decisively, why was the result 219-211 in favor of standalone TPA a few minutes later. I think it was because Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn didn’t whip that vote. The Democrats got 54 Republicans crossing over on that vote. If they could have held the pro-TPA vote down to 20, they would have won then and would have demonstrated that they could defeat the TPA straight up. Why didn’t that happen? Because Pelosi!

    2. Steve

      Obama will use this vote to show the Beltway pundits he is willing to buck his party, something they think is important for Democrats to do but not Republicans, who in contrast are supposed to cater to their base. Obama is ever eager to please elite opinion and his allying with Boehner against his own party is sure to do the trick.

      People should boycott the DCCC until Pelosi goes.

      1. Praedor

        Wish I could rejoin the party just so I could boycott as you say, an re-leave. They made me a non-Democrat under Clinton with all his (and the Party’s) kissyass with Wall Street.

      2. different clue

        It will be interesting to see if Pelosi is re-elected with a 60% margin from her Yuppie Scum support base as a reward for getting TPA passed, just as she was re-elected with a 60% margin by that same Yuppie Scum base as a reward for “Impeachment is off the table” a couple of elections ago.

  23. frosty zoom

    welcome to the united states of pacifica, folks.

    coming soon, natoworld and u.s.p. versus the excommies and sundry villians.

    sign on the dotted line.

  24. Kim Kaufman

    Headline just arrived from The Hill: House approves fast-track 218-208, sending bill to Senate

  25. Gaius Publius

    As I hear it, the list of 28 Dems voting Yes is the same as Yves named above, via Alan Grayson.

    Except that Grayson only listed 27 Dems. He left off Debbie Wasserman Schultz.


  26. Praedor

    I’m now officially OK with impeaching Obama before he can race out of the white house into a cushy 1% life of unearned luxury. Impeach you say? Yes, it is an impeachable offense to trade off US sovereignty to outside, unelected actors and that is PRECISELY what TPP, TTIP, and TISA do, canceling our Constitutional right to set our own laws through our ELECTED representatives.

    The upside is that Europe is beginning to turn on ISDS and so now there’s a push to remove ISDS from ALL trade deals.

    1. jrs

      I’ve been ok FOR YEARS with impeaching the drone murderer. Sure the VP is no better but whatever, it needs to be done.

      Let’s impeach the President!!!
      – Neil Young (about W Bush but it turns out “W” Obama is no better)

    2. jonboinAR

      Who’s to impeach him? He doesn’t have the weight to threaten any party in the Senate enough. Crap! He’s working with the Repubs AND a number of corporate Demos to roll back democracy. That’s a majority of the Senate, I think. There ain’t nobody else (to speak of) there to even begin impeachment proceedings, but we may as well carry on pipe-dreaming. What else we got?

    3. different clue

      There will be no impeachment. Obama’s presidency remains worth too much money to the upper class for anyone in Congress to be permitted to permit impeachment.

  27. Praedor

    I notice how Obama and Boehner used the Charleston shooting as cover to rush the new Fast Track vote through, expecting people to be too distracted by it to pay attention to their actions in the House.

      1. Ian

        Wasn’t that, it would’ve been something else. Anything to make this a second page story.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Sorry, absent evidence, I think that’s naive cynicism. In general, our elites are opportunistic rather than creative (except at stuff like fraud and corruption). In a crisis, a crony of the publisher might place a call. But they don’t do that all the time. Even today, it’s not a command economy, and the elite hoard their chips.

  28. Deloss Brown

    My Rep, Charlie Rangel, ALWAYS votes for the good. But I get fund-raising requests from all over the country, and I just called Scott Peters’ office and Ami Bera’s office, and told them I would not open their emails any more, and would carefully eliminate them from the ActBlue aggregates.

    On to the Senate, and Jeanne Shaheen, among others. Illegitimati tandem non carborundum, etc.

  29. Jill

    Does anyone have a line on these people’s off-shore accounts? I swear they must have been given a very sweet sum for this vote.

    1. john

      You can be sure they were.

      Obama’s getting at least a BILLION dollar PAYOFF for passing TPP.

        1. different clue

          As john just said in not-so-many-words, Obama’s billion dollar payoff is a theory. We shall see how much money Obama harvests for his own personal fortune ( not just the library), in the coming years. The closer Obama gets to his billion, the stronger john’s theory will be shown to have been.

  30. Wat

    I faxed the following to the list of Dems above who voted in favor of Fast Track last week; if you have not, won’t you please call them your opinion.

    Dear Democratic Congresspeople:

    I have thought for a long time that it has been a mistake to exclude the Preamble to the Constitution from the effective language of our government. It reads: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish …..”

    Without the use of this language to guide us, both in law and in culture, selfishness has been established as a virtue and ignorance as a necessity, and our country is headed down the tubes. We’ve devolved democracy into cash throwing contests, committed the most egregious war crimes possible, vitiated half of the Bill of Rights. Every single clause from the Preamble would be tossed out the window YET AGAIN if we pass the TPA, the TTP, TTIP, etc. More jobs lost, more education degraded, more children hungry, more men and women of our valorous Services living on the streets.

    It is crucial that you vote against it. No matter how it is packaged, what remains to the general public of what America was supposed to be is at stake.

    Wat Stearns

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