Fast track trade authority passes in House

The House today passed a revised fast track authority bill for any trade bills that President Obama might negotiate.

This bill did not include the job training section that was defeated last week and that the Senate included in its version of fast track. Thus, the Senate must now vote again on fast track, this time on the House-passed version. It is unclear whether the Senate will agree, as Democrats have opposed fast track without the jobs aid.

Overall this whole incident illustrates how misguided our elected leaders are. Right now we have much bigger problems than negotiating a new trade agreement, especially considering the secrecy in which Obama wishes to complete that negotiation.

The complicated status of Obamatrade in Congress

Link here. To sum up, the fast track trade authority for Obama actually passed, but the companion part of the law, dubbed TAA, failed badly. Since the Senate had passed both, the approved law needs to go back to conference so that both houses pass the same bill, or the House can vote again on the portion that was defeated.

That the House leadership is still fighting for this considering the strong opposition from the voters as well as from their own caucus tells us how little they understand the present political situation.

Things look bad for Obamatrade fast track

It is early and the vote hasn’t yet happened, but it appears that the House is going to reject fast track trade authority for Obama.

I need to provide some clarification. This fast track authority is not an actual trade bill, but a procedure that has been used since FDR to make the negotiation process on trade bills easier for the president. For some reason Congress needs to now renew it for Obama.

That Congressmen from both parties are reluctant to renew this grant of presidential power indicates a shift of political power back to Congress. The argument, that this power has been routinely granted since FDR, is not carrying the weight it once did. Instead, there is movement to refuse the president this extra power, partly because there is distrust of Obama because of his abuses of power and executive authority and partly because the voters have elected a lot of new congressmen who in general just don’t like giving presidents more power.

Expect this shift to increase in the coming years. It appears to me that this battle over fast track might be a very positive sign for the future.

Want a law passed? Bribe your Senator!

Good work if you can get it: A survey of the Senators who voted for the secret fast track trade legislation — whose language has still not been published for the public to read — has found that they all received huge donations in the past few months from businesses that support the legislation, while the law was being written and voted on.

Some were Democrats who held back until they got a lot of cash donations, then voted yes. Some were Republicans who took the money up front and then wrote the legislation. All told more than a million dollars in bribes were handed over to senators to guarantee their “yay” votes.