American workers and their supporters hoped that when the House of Representatives severed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) from Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) last week, it would prevent approval of TPA. With the ability to debate and amend specific provisions of the TPA, Congress might well have derailed President Obama’s disastrous master plan to ramrod the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) down our collective throats. If approved, the TPP will turbocharge our pace as we race to the bottom in terms of protecting labor and the environment.
Backed by a number of Democrats, the Republican-controlled Senate had previously voted to give Obama TPA coupled with TAA 62-37. Progressive representatives, however, expected that the Democratic minority would refuse to support TPA without TAA notwithstanding majority leader McConnell’s assurances that he and House Speaker Boehner would reintroduce TAA once TPA passed. Liberal hopes were dashed, however, when the Senate blue dogs stood firm against American labor earlier this week.
Ending debate on the TPA sans TAA passed with the minimum number of aye votes 60-37 Monday June 22. Wednesday, the Senate joined the house in approving TPA. While the war is not over, the President and his corporate backers are firmly in control and the TPP looks increasingly likely.
Ultimately, the House’s maneuver did cause Maryland Senator Ben Cardin to oppose ending debate. Cardin does deserve some credit for voting against cloture, although it appears that he waited to vote no until it was clear that Obama and McConnell were going to win. Based on his vote against cloture, Senator Cardin deserves a raise in his current grade on TPP from F to C.