“They’re just wrong.” A month long campaign of insult on members of his own party failed to deliver 60 votes in the Senate that would have granted a vote on “fast track” authority for President Obama. It may have been “procedural” but a motion that required 60 votes to end debate failed 52-45 today on the Senate floor. That motion, had it passed, would have been followed by a vote on fast-track trade legislation.
Bottom line: President Obama lost big. And in losing big it’s interesting to note that the President hasn’t detailed what’s so great for American workers in the trade deal. There has been loads of interviews featuring the President repeating again and again how wrong so many of his fellow Democrats are.
Fast-track is a top priority for the President. Unfortunately, over six years, bonding with members of Congress has not been a top priority for the President. As a result, a boatload of top down tactics that serve to tick members off has resulted in fights with his own party. Further, with the 2016 presidential election a little over 500 days away, many members are not in the mood to back the President’s plays automatically — particularly when jobs could be at stake.
Other members have been unhappy about the secrecy of the process around the trade deal even though they have read the deal in a secure room in the U.S. Capitol.
“It’s too bad that a Nobel Prize-winning economist isn’t even allowed to read the current trade deal until after Congress votes to grease the skids to make sure that it passes… American workers have taken the brunt of bad trade deals, and he argues that we need to make changes to restore the balance in trade agreements so the playing field isn’t tilted even further. So that it isn’t tilted even more in favor of big multinational corporations and against workers,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Many in Congress remember what happened back in the 1990s when so much was promised in the name of jobs when President Clinton was lobbying hard for support of NAFTA. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) have mentioned the massive job lost after NAFTA passed.
Last week, President Obama traveled to a Nike plant in Oregon and said, “On trade I actually think some of my dearest friends are wrong, they’re just wrong,”They’re just wrong,” President Obama said during his speech offering no detail as to why.