I told you yesterday that we won one battle, but the war rages on. And it will today, as the senate will once again vote on advancing Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority.
A day after Senate Democrats delivered what was widely described as a “stinging rebuke” — really, is there any other type of rebuke? — to President Obama by blocking the Fast Track bill from advancing, Senate negotiators are nearing a deal to move it forward.
According to several Senate sources — whose accounts match up with what some reporters are spilling forth on the twitters — the deal between Senate Dems and Republicans looks something like this:
1) The Senate would vote first on a package that includes a measure stiffening enforcement on foreign companies evading import duties and a measure that would force the administration to take action against countries manipulating currency to juice exports. Those were chiefly sought by Senators Ron Wyden and Chuck Schumer. There might also be a vote on a measure that would favor U.S. imports of some products from certain African countries.
2) Then the Senate would proceed to a vote on whether to move forward with Fast Track, which would mandate that a final Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is subject only to an up-or-down Congressional vote, with no amendments or filibusters. The vote on Fast Track would also include Trade Adjustment Assistance, which helps workers hurt by trade policies. Presumably, if the first two above items sought by Dems pass, a group of around a dozen pro-trade Democrats — who helped block Fast Track yesterday — would then vote to move it forward.
Previously, that group of pro-trade Democrats had joined the filibuster of the Fast Track vote because it only included assistance for workers displaced by trade, and not the currency manipulation or enforcement provisions.
This morning, I spoke with Brent Budowsky, former policy aide to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex) and Legislative Director to Rep. Bill Alexander D-Ark.), then Chief Deputy Majority Whip, who now writes a weekly column for The Hill.
He wrote a widely read scathing piece for The Observer this week about President Obama’s criticisms of Elizabeth Warren over her opposition to TPP that he describes as
one of the most bizarre and ill-advised performances of his presidency.
In the second hour, Howie Klein joined me with some good news! On the personal front, Howie’s doctor proclaimed yesterday that he’s in “complete remission!” – the best news I could have hoped for today! He still has a lot of treatment ahead to do all that’s possible to keep it from coming back, but the news is the best news possible! The other good news is that Russ Feingold announced this morning that he will seek to regain his old Senate seat from Wisconsin.
I’ll be back to wrap up the week tomorrow, radio or not!