|On the heals of NAFTA's "20 years of regret" anniversary, U.S. lawmakers are aggressively pushing legislation to fast-track what has been called NAFTA on steroids: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Three powerful lawmakers—House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)—announced legislation Thursday that would allow the Obama administration to fast-track approval of this behemoth trade deal.
Known as "trade promotion authority," the legislation would allow the Obama administration to dodge deliberation and amendments from Congress.
Whether or not the president obtains the listed negotiating objectives, the bill would empower the president to sign a trade pact before Congress votes on it with a guarantee that the executive branch can write legislation to implement the pact and alter wide swaths of existing U.S. law and obtain both House and Senate votes within 90 days. That legislation is not subject to markup and amendment in committee, all amendments are forbidden during floor votes and a maximum of 20 hours of debate is permitted in the House and Senate.The legislation is being advanced despite broad opposition from within Capitol Hill as well as social justice, labor, and environmental organizations.
“For nearly four years, the U.S. Trade Representative and TPP negotiators have purposely restricted participation and information, keeping members of Congress and citizen groups, unions, environmental and consumer organizations in the dark," said Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen. "There has been no opportunity for public interest groups to meaningfully participate in the negotiations, and under fast track authority, there will be no opportunity for our elected representatives to amend the deal and make it better for Americans."
Said Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership would be an unmitigated disaster for everything from the environment to internet freedom and working families."
He added, "Let's be clear: A vote for fast track authority on the TPP is a vote for a deal that will hurt hardworking Americans and haunt every single member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, who votes for it."
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004—Bush sweats "insider" books:
|The Bush White House is nervous about two forthcoming books by former insiders. Ex-Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill assails the president for a lack of interest in substantive policy in a book written by journalist Ron Suskind that will be trotted out with great fanfare on CBS's "60 Minutes" this weekend.
One Bush insider, however, ventures that no one really cares what a former Treasury secretary says. But, a book due out later by Richard Clarke, the White House's top terror expert under both President Clinton and President Bush, is another matter. Mr. Clarke is known to feel the Bush administration largely ignored the threat of terrorism and Osama bin Laden before 9-11, even after al Qaeda in June 2001 claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 American soldiers.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Chris Christie's bridge-closing scandal remains atop the headlines today. Greg Dworkin sifts through them, thanks to TPM's roundup. NRSC staffer Brad Dayspring is purportedly surprised at the Senate Conservatives Fund's bulk book purchases, in this case of a book by wackadoodle Mark '100 Times Worse Than Watergate' Levin. KITM listeners know that's been S.O.P. for conservative PACs since forever. And another look at the Duck Dynasty-ing of Guns & Ammo's Dick Metcalf, in "Gospel of the Gun: Why the Fight for Gun Control will be Harder than We Think."