WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the “fight will continue” to negotiate a good deal with 11 other nations in the TransPacific Partnership trade talks despite the defeat of Main Street Democrats and Republicans in Congress last week.
She referred to the final passage of a bill giving the president unlimited power to draft an agreement, and in secret, dealing with 40 percent of the world’s goods and services.
The talks cover everything from environmental law, drug safety and food purity to banking, labor codes and where sneakers and autos get made.
The final deal, still in the discussion stage, must pass Congress when the president is ready. But the struggle to stop the president got much steeper. The final version can’t be amended or filibustered.
Only the unlikely revolt of conservative or libertarian Republicans against their GOP majorities – back benchers who are angry that this president has been handed so much power, or that it will create a measure of global government – can unhorse this legislative horseman of the Apocalypse.
This column failed to find someone who could fully explain why Obama, who governs from the extreme left, could embrace a globalism that will deprive so many of his fellow minority persons of employment.
Economist Alan Tonelson said Obama is just another “Bill Clinton-style Democrat happy to help big business fatten profits at the domestic economy’s expense.”
“On the Republican side,” Tonelson said, “by backing this corporate-driven agenda, the party’s … leaders again revealed a big divide in their grass roots – which polls increasingly show see themselves at prime victims of trade policy failures.”
“I don’t see Obama as the devil incarnate,” said professor Peter Morici of the University of Maryland. But Morici said Obama has a kind of blind spot on currency manipulations. Obama has never used his authority to punish China and other nations for deliberately cheapening their exchange rates to gain a pricing advantage over U.S.-produced goods. Nor did President George W. Bush, for that matter.
“The subtleties of [currency manipulation] are lost on President Obama,” Morici said.
Scott Paul, president of the American Alliance for Manufacturing, said Obama may be persuaded that if the United States fails to show leadership in a cross-Pacific treaty, then that role will fall to China. “But under the rosiest scenarios” projected by the administration, “American manufacturing is going to come out the loser.”
The president’s insensitivities played out in public weeks ago, Paul said, when Obama chose a Nike facility in Oregon to boost the trade bill. Nike’s products are made overseas.
Virtually every presidential contender, other than Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-D-Vt., who strongly opposed the bill, has ducked this issue.
Maplight, a non-partisan investigative blog, said lobbies that supported the trade bill gave members of Congress $218 million, or nine times the amount to organizations that opposed it over seven years. Sen. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand voted no.
The Supreme Court’s decision upholding all subsidy programs under Obamacare will relieve congressional Republicans of the onerous task of having to hurriedly rebuild the system. But driven by the tea party and elements of the insurance business, they will be confronted again by their leadership with trying to repeal the whole program in the months leading up to the 2016 elections. The GOP should stop this squirrel cage. Obamacare is settled law. Republican presidential contenders Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio have already damaged their prospects by calling for repeal.