12 May 2015

This Sh%$ Just Got Real on Fast Track

Senate Democrats voted against cloture, 52-47, so the vote failed to reach the 60 vote threshold:
President Obama collided with his own party Tuesday when Senate Democrats stalled consideration of a trade measure that would give the administration greater authority to negotiate more freely with other countries.

The Senate vote was a sharp blow to the president’s efforts to win approval for a new Asia-Pacific trade bill that has emerged as a top agenda item for Obama. Only one Democratic senator, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, voted with the president Tuesday.

Administration officials and Republican leaders immediately said they would bring a measure back to the Senate floor.

But the setback highlighted the president’s failure to convince Democratic lawmakers, labor union leaders and environmental groups that the 12-nation trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership would help the U.S. economy. Obama has argued that the pact would open markets, promote better labor conditions abroad and protect endangered species and the environment.
I called both of my Senators this morning to ask them to vote now and to vote against cloture.

For the next round, you should do the same.

What didn't help was Obama's belittling, and quite frankly chicken sh%$ dismissal of Elizabeth Warren's concerns:

What began with a slight jab at Warren’s trade views — “She’s wrong on this,” Obama told MSNBC three weeks ago — has escalated into a series of daily barbs and retorts carried out on cable TV and Internet interviews, on radio shows and from the official podium at the White House.

Over the weekend, Obama used a rather harsh turn of phrase — “a politician like everybody else” — against Warren, who has carefully constructed an image as a principled voice in the wilderness taking unpopular political stands to help the voiceless working class.

Warren returned fire in interviews and appearances Monday and Tuesday, accusing the president of duplicity because he “won’t actually let people read the agreement” before Tuesday’s procedural vote in the Senate.


Allies of Warren were taken aback by the personal nature of the president’s remarks.

“I think the president was disrespectful to her, the way he did that. I think the president has made this more personal than he needed to,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who has led opposition to the trade legislation, told reporters after Tuesday’s vote.

Brown said that some of Obama’s comments were perceived as insults directed not only at Warren but also at other Democratic opponents of the trade deal.
I haven't heard this about Sherrod Brown, or about Bernie Sanders, or other male Senators.

The Obama administration, and Barack Obama, have a long history of being dismissive of women, with one former aide describing his administration as, "This place would be in court for a hostile workplace. … Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women". (See also "sweetie")

In addition to allowing his sexism to show, Obama also was stupid about this, because it is precisely the sort of behavior that gets every Senator's back up.

I'm happy about this development, though I am concerned that I am on the same side of this as the right wing morons at Pajamas Media, who are, "Rooting for the Democrats to Block Obama’s ‘Fast Track’ Deal."

Truth be told, part of the nearly unanimous opposition of the Democrats for cloture is not as significant as it seems, as some of the Democrats want to attach related provisions to the vote:
According to Democratic leadership aides, Senators Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, and Chuck Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat, have proposed a compromise to Republican leaders: First, hold a separate vote on legislation aimed at discouraging so-called currency manipulation by American trading partners, which could be vetoed by the president. Then, wrap the fast-track authority he is seeking with a more encompassing bill, including assistance for displaced workers, extension of an African trade accord and other trade enforcement measures.

That offer could be the path forward, given that at least eight Democrats who normally embrace trade deals voted no on Tuesday.

So the votes may shift in the next few days.

A note for Delaware voters, there was only one Democratic Senator who voted for cloture, Delaware’s Tom Carper.

Delaware primary voters, and anyone interested in donating to his campaign, please take note.


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