Late last month in the midst of the media obsession over the failure of a web site, the Senate Finance Committee called on congress to pass fast-track legislation aimed at smoothing the passage of any future trade deals that would include the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Panel Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said during a trade hearing that they are working on crafting trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation and are expecting the Obama administration to work with them toward gaining its approval in Congress.
Baucus said it is time to “pass TPA and do it soon.”
He noted that President Obama has asked Congress to craft legislation and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is encouraging lawmakers to move forward so “it’s time for us to do our part, introduce a bill and do it quickly.” [..]
The hearing’s witnesses placed a high level of importance on completing TPA because it they argued that it will strengthen the negotiating hand of U.S. trade officials who are working on the U.S.-European Union trade deal as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP is a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade agreement that Obama and Froman, along with many of the other negotiators, are aiming to complete by the end of the year.
What does “fast track” mean? I think Charles Pierce summarized it nicely
Sometime very soon, the Congress is likely to pass — with limited, if any debate and no amendments possible — a massive trade deal that was negotiated in secret, and the terms of which remain largely secret, and which, if the past is any kind of prologue, will drop a thousand-pound stink bomb on American jobs.
Debate (theoretically) cannot ever end on Mel Watt and his middling level federal job.
Debate cannot even begin on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Check the umpire because somebody’s screwing us.
The umpire is President Barack Obama and his merry band of corporate thieves.