Obama, Senate Digging in on Trade Promotion Authority

Published on May 21st, 2015

After some intra-party haggling among Democrats, on May 21 the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted 62-38 to end debate on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a procedure that will likely lead to the initiative’s passage in the upper chamber. TPA, also known as “fast-track”, will also speed approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal that would increase immigration to America by issuing more visas to the participating nations’ workers.

TPP, a vehicle for more immigration, fewer American jobs.

Like the many similar trade deals before it, TPP would be an American job killer. The fast-track bill that Obama wants so badly would allow the president to submit trade agreements with 12 countries to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. Lawmakers would be powerless to change individual provisions.

Oddly, on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama expressed reservations about free trade, and even said that if elected he would try to amend the disastrous North American Free Trade Agreement which he called “a mistake.” Watch Obama make his promise here. Seven years later, Obama’s pledge to defend American workers and put Main Streets priorities ahead of Wall Street’s bottom line agenda is ancient history.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.) understands TPP’s pitfalls. In a response to Obama’s direct criticism for expressing her reservations about TPP, Warren wrote in her blog that TPP’s as yet unreleased details must be made public. Then, Americans could judge what affect it might have on their jobs, the environment, and global working conditions. Warren is certain Americans, already hesitant, would consider TPP wanting on all three counts.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data which columnist Terence P. Jeffrey summarized, the U.S. has lost more than 7.2 million manufacturing jobs since 1979, a 37 percent decline from its 19.5 million peak.

Moreover, Census Bureau statistics show that the real median income of an American high school graduate and household head peaked in 1973 at $56,395 in constant 2013 dollars. By 2013, it was down to $40,701. The $15,694 drop reflects a 27.8 percent fall off.

TPP would make create more American job displacement and worsen steeply declining wages.  Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to find your House representatives to tell them to stand up for American workers and urge them to vote against TPP. There’s considerable resistance to TPP in the House so your voice will make a difference.


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