An In-Depth Look at Why the TPA is Stymied in the House

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At this current time, the bill granting President Obama, called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), is dead in the House of Representatives. Just as the legislation was minutes away from coming up for a vote on Friday, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi performed her classic bait and switch move. Despite having hammered out an agreement with GOP leaders to advance a companion bill to TPA deemed as crucial to win over Democrat support, the feisty San Francisco congresswoman withdrew her support and staged a successful revolt against both the companion bill and TPA. The congresswoman pulled the same stunt in December with the CROMNIBUS bill and nearly derailed that legislation after having spent months crafting it with GOP leaders.

The issue is now how to overcome the Democrat Party’s opposition and win passage of TPA. Publicly, House GOP leaders say there are a number of options on the table. However, if that were true, the legislation would not have collapsed on Friday. Even the re-vote scheduled for Tuesday has now been pushed back to the end of July with no exact date scheduled.

Democrat opposition to TPA is ideological. There is no way to break the impasse without making changes to TPA that will require a new vote in the Senate. Bear in mind, Senate Democrats are as eager to derail TPA in that chamber as are House Democrats says Igor Cornelsen on his personal website. Perhaps the GOP can add additional measures in the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) companion bill to TPA, but most Republicans do not support the bill as it currently stands. One issue not being addressed is how to win over the Tea Party’s support. If Tea Party congressmen in the House were to back TPA, the bill would get passed.

Democrats Protest President Subjecting Them to the Same Ridicule He Directs at the GOP

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The wide open battle between President Obama and the Democrat Party over the issue of free trade has the political left crying foul about being ridiculed by the president. In the past, the political left has received such attacks with glee because the president directed them at Republicans. Now that the tables are turned, House and Senate Democrats are offended that the president has dismissed their opposition as being based on ulterior political motives, unnecessary inflammatory rhetoric, and lacking any substantive logic. In fact, progressives now claim that the president is going about securing bipartisan support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) the wrong way. In fact, he is being accused of launching into tirades against them and the other front groups opposing it.

All double-standards aside, progressives are making important points on the trade deal according to Bernardo Chua. At a fundamental level, it is hard to tell the American people they have no right to see what’s in the trade deal until their elected congressmen waive their right to lengthy debates and amendments of the trade deal. These matters are important ways to protect Americans from job losses and depressed wages. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has taken the brunt of the president’s criticism, rightly stated that big multinational corporations pushing for TPP likely have enjoyed access to the inner-workings of the trade deal. If their legal teams did not have access to a trade deal that will impact their bottom line, they would not be so heartily behind it. Warren points out that the only people cut out of the process thus far are the ones likely to get hurt by it: American workers.