Fast Track Moves Forward And Now The Fight Is On TPP Directly
from the well-that-sucks dept
As noted last week, Congress played some games last week and was able to move forward on fast track authority (Trade Promotion Authority — or TPA) in the House by decoupling it from Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Before that, everyone had said that TPA couldn’t move forward in the Senate without TAA, but it did move forward with exactly 60 votes (the minimum it needed). That means fast track is going to the President’s desk, and of course he’ll sign it. Previously, the President had promised that he wouldn’t sign TPA without TAA, so I’m still at a loss as to how that’s happening, since the House hasn’t approved TAA yet and theoretically could block Obama from signing TPA by rejecting TAA — if (and it’s a big if) President Obama actually stands by that promise. However, the way everyone’s talking about this, it seems pretty clear that Congress is just going to cave, and will pass TAA as well.
And, effectively, that means this is a done deal. As bizarre as it sounds, Republicans in Congress (with the help of a small group of Democrats) have given up their own Constitutional powers to regulate international commerce, and handed it to the President of an opposing party, while the majority of Democrats fought to keep their own President (and the next President…) from having such powers.
In the end, this means that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is pretty much a done deal. Negotiators have more or less said that it’s ready to go, but thanks to having fast track, our own Congress will not be able to call out any of the problems in the agreement — or ask for any changes. It can only vote thumbs up or thumbs down on the agreement. And that means that the very dangerous corporate giveaways on intellectual property laws — locking us into extended copyrights, weakening the ability to make and sell cheap drugs — and corporate sovereignty provisions — allowing companies to sue for taxpayer funds over “lost profits” due to regulatory changes, is about to expand massively.
At this point, about the only way I can see that the TPP doesn’t make it across the finish line is if there’s a huge public outcry, making it totally toxic to Congress, but that seems like a very big long shot. So, thanks, Congress, for selling out the American public to a few big corporations today. It’s going to do real harm, and you’ll pretend you didn’t realize that down the road. What a sham.