Congressional Democrats voted yesterday to deny the President fast-track trade authority and effectively ending hopes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be finalized. Democrats were upset that the President had failed to value relations with Congress and did not reach out to Congressional Democrats to bring them on board.
Congressional Democrats have long maintained that the free trade agreement would lead to American jobs being lost to overseas producers with lower wages and fewer protections for workers. Republicans failed to support the measure, leading to its defeat.
What do you think? Were Congressional Democrats right to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Are its critics correct in asserting that it would have led to a loss of American jobs? Or are its proponents correct to argue that free trade promotes prosperity? Do you support the TPP? Why?
President Obama’s free trade agenda suffered a setback yesterday after the Senate was unable to reach the 60 votes needed to close debate on legislation granting President Obama fast track negotiating authority. The bill, supported by the White House and Congressional Republicans, would have made approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a free trade deal encompassing 14 countries and widely seen as a counterweight to Chinese influence—a foregone conclusion. But sharp divisions between President Obama and Congressional Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), scudded the motion.
At issue are concerns over the scope of the agreement and protections afforded for workers and the environment. Congressional Democrats, leery of the deal in light of what they see as a mixed record for NAFTA and other free trade agreements, are demanding increased protections. They are also Congressional Republicans oppose such measures, while the White House claims they are unnecessary.
What do you think? Would the Trans-Pacific Partnership be beneficial or detrimental to the US economy? Would you support measures proposed by Congressional Democrats to include increased protections for workers and the environment as a precondition for approving the new deal? Why?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a new trade deal that encompasses and accounts for 40 percent of the world’s economy. Proponents contend that the deal will increase US exports, drive down import costs, protect intellectual property rights, and establish minimum environmental and labor standards for participants. Opponents contend that the deal would undermine the influence of labor in the United States.
President Obama has sought to fast-track the new deal under a provision known as trade promotion authority. The move has created interesting alliances on both sides, with Congressional Republicans wanting to grant President Obama the authority. On the other side, liberal Democrats in Congress have found a partner in the Tea Party, promoting a populist message opposing the deal.
What do you think? What impact will the TPP have on the US economy? What are the benefits and the drawbacks? Should the deal be fast-tracked? Why?