‘A Great Day for Corporate America’: US Senate Passes Fast Track

‘Shameful’ vote all but ensures approval of mammoth trade deals like the TransPacific Partnership

By Deirdre Fulton
June 24, 2015
Common Dreams

 

Thirteen Senate Democrats joined Republicans to make sure corporate interests had the necessary votes to pass the Fast Track bill through the chamber. “How shameful,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who voted against the measure. (Photo: Archive/with overlay)

In a win for multinational corporations and the global one percent, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday narrowly advanced Fast Track, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) —ensuring for all practical purposes the continued rubber-stamping of clandestine trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The cloture motion to end debate needed 60 votes and it got just that, passing the chamber 60-37. The full roll call is here. A final vote will come on Wednesday. Having overcome the biggest hurdle, the legislation is expected to pass, and will then be sent to President Barack Obama’s desk to become law.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who campaigned vigorously against Fast Track, said the vote represented a win for corporate America. “The vote today—pushed by multi-national corporations, pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street—will mean a continuation of  disastrous trade policies which have cost our country millions of decent-paying jobs,” the presidential candidate said in a statement.

And Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), another of the most vocal opponents of Fast Track, railed against TPA moments before the vote, accusing Congress of turning on its “moral” obligation to assist the working class.

“How shameful,” Brown said. “We’re making this decision knowing that people will lose their jobs because of our action.”

According to The Hill:

Thirteen Democrats backed fast-track in Tuesday’s vote, handing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a major legislative victory. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) voted against the procedural motion.

The Democrats cast “yes” votes even though the trade package did not include a workers assistance program for people displaced by increased trade. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program was a part of the last fast-track package approved by the Senate in May, but became a key part of opposition to the package among Democrats in the House.

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, pointed out that the vote only came about via “elaborate legislative contortions and gimmicks designed to hand multinational corporations their top priority.”

Such contortions were necessary, she added, “because the American people overwhelmingly oppose these deals, notwithstanding an endless barrage of propaganda.”

Indeed, response from the progressive grassroots was fast—and furious.

“We’re outraged that Congress today voted to fast track pollution, rather than the job-creating clean energy we need to address climate change,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “It’s clear this deal would extend the world’s dependence on fracked gas, forbid our negotiators from ever using trade agreements in the fight against global warming, and make it easier for big polluters to burn carbon while suing anyone who gets in the way. That’s why we’re so disappointed President Obama has taken up the banner for ramming this legislative pollution through the halls of Congress, in a way he never pushed for a climate bill.”

Groups threatened political fall-out for those Democrats who voted in favor of Fast Track.

“Senate Democrats who just voted to proceed on Fast Track for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership openly betrayed the grassroots Democratic activists who helped elect them and have been exceedingly clear in their opposition to any legislation that allows more NAFTA-style trade deals to be jammed through Congress,” said Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America. “The Senate Democrats who allowed Fast Track should know that this vote will be remembered, it will not be erased, and we will hold you accountable.”

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, echoed that warning as she declared, “The senators who provided the margin of Fast Track victory will face angry voters in their next elections. Constituents will hold them accountable for putting the interests of transnational corporations ahead of the public.”

In addition to calling out Senate Democrats who “betrayed people and the planet” by voting for cloture on Tuesday, National People’s Action Campaign executive director George Goehl lambasted “the virtual silence of the leading Democratic candidate for president,” which he said “shows the stranglehold corporations have over both political parties.”

And Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy program at the Institute for Policy Studies, said it was clear who will benefit most if the pending deals are given final passage. Today is a “great day for the big money interests,” she said following the Senate vote.

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14 thoughts on “‘A Great Day for Corporate America’: US Senate Passes Fast Track

  1. sojourner

    Maybe I’ve become fatalistic, but I understood this criminal treaty would be passed at some point. There was no other choice, because the elite-swine are still in charge, and what they want will be given them or else.

    There is no “shame” here. This is how our government functions, it’s as Merican as baseball and apple pie. If there were any shame to be had, this government would have been gone a long time ago!

    I still see people, even the more aware ones, still caught up in the worship of this system, and I just don’t get it?

    I can understand being angry about the passing of this treaty, because I am angry about it. I’m livid! But this constant droning on about the congress and Obama not doing their jobs and not following the frigging constitution is driving me insane.

    The constitution, like the Magna Carta, was created by the few to control the many. They were both a manipulation. And how the world is today, is my evidence. If they had been the gods on parchment they were hyped to be, then we wouldn’t be writing these blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. newsfortherevolution Post author

      I was trying to be hopeful, but deep down I knew they would get their way. As you said, this isn’t a failure of the system, this is the system doing what it is designed to do. Obama and the rest of the government are doing what they were elected to do, serve the corporate interests.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. sojourner

        That is exactly the way it is!

        I know your country is going down the tubes as well, but every day there is some new insanity to deal with here. Nine black people were murdered, and all this has spawned is more political bullshit: “gun control,” the confederate flag controversy and photo and speech ops for the “candidates”. And this is why this atrocity happened, I firmly believe it now.

        And now Donald Trump is the #2 “man” for pres on the republican side. Take a good look at the two-legged monstrosities running for president. It’s like a freak show! And more and more I see, once again, Mericans climbing on board one or the other political side show.

        I posted an article today that has really taken me down to a place where I don’t know if I can continue. I have already slowed down. Instead of having six or seven posts ready to go, I have barely one ready to go every day.

        Sorry, it seems we are taking turns on the sickness issue. I have been sick for the past three days and haven’t slept. And I feel wiped out. I know you can relate!

        Like I said, I’m hanging in until after the election next year. After that, if I am going to blog, I will post only those articles I can find dealing with self-governing communities and individual freedom. I would do that full time now, if there were enough material. I keep posting Dr Bramhall’s articles, which are excellent.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. newsfortherevolution Post author

        I’m sorry to hear about your health. I know how much of a struggle it is to post we you feel like crap. It takes a lot of effort just to turn on the computer.

        I like you ideas for taking things in a new direction. I can’t help thinking a lot of the stuff we’re reading everyday ends up wearing down our health. When your body is already coping with illness, it doesn’t take that much added stress to make things worse.

        Hang in there, and I hope you feel better soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. sojourner

    Thank you! I hope you are feeling better as well?

    Perhaps you’re right. Maybe I need to consider getting away from all this hell, day in and day out, and start seeking out articles on self governance now?

    It isn’t like we haven’t covered every topic possible. And sometimes, as I’m writing, I think to myself, You’ve written this several times before.

    I know one thing, I am not going to do too much for the rest of this week. I have a few articles I want to post, and then maybe I need to consider all of this, and not wait a year from now.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. newsfortherevolution Post author

      I’ve had a little set back. Since yesterday I’ve been experiencing more pain.

      When this is cleared up and I’m able to think more clearly, I’m going to seriously consider what I want to do with my blog. I think a new direction is needed for the sake of my health.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. sojourner

        I’m sorry to hear that! As you know stress/anxiety can play havoc with the body, especially the digestive system.

        Good! Maybe we can follow a similar path? Don’t want to lose touch!

        We have talked so many times about wanting to take a more positive approach, well for me, looking ahead to a new world of the free individual and small self-governing/sustaining collectives is something that makes me feel very positive and alive, as opposed to angry, depressed and fatalistic.

        And this would still be serving others. In fact, with so many writing on the negative, maybe this would be even more of a service. Instead of harping on what’s wrong, showing what could be and very right seems like something to really consider?

        What do you think?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. sojourner

    Over the weekend, instead of posting, I am going to start checking out some of the sites I already have, and begin looking for other sources of info. As I come across sites and info I’ll contact you this way.

    And if this works out, I’m just going to continue with the same blog. I’m not going to start another one. Maybe just a heads up post and then the change. Maybe we can do this and maybe even help out our health a bit?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. stuartbramhall

    I’m truly ashamed that both Washington senators voted for this monstrosity – despite getting tens of thousands of calls and emails from constituents asking them not to. I still vote in Washington State (I’m required to pay US income tax) and I’m committed to doing everything in my power to ensure both women are booted out of office.

    Meanwhile things look brighter and brighter for keeping New Zealand out of the TPP. Our group has convinced 11 city councils to pass anti-TPP resolution and a local councillor has committed to helping us pass one here in New Plymouth. Plus we need only one more an opposition bill through Parliament that will make any treaty with an Investor State Dispute Settlement clause illegal in NZ.

    This country is in a very tricky situation as China (which is deliberately excluded from TPP) is our major trading partner. This means we could be sued under TPP for any lows or ordinances that favor China (there are a bunch of them).

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. newsfortherevolution Post author

      The passing of this perfectly illustrates the findings of that study out of Princeton, which showed that America is an Oligarchy, not a democracy.

      From that study:

      “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover … even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

      It’s great to see the positive influence people are having with grassroots movements. I hope they can turn into a groundswell and impact our governments at the federal level.

      Like

      Reply

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