Obama Begs House Democrats To Save Fast Track Trade Bill

In a last-ditch move to save his bid for trade promotion authority, President Obama went to Capitol Hill to plead with House Democrats to support a bill that many have doubts about.

According to The Hill:

In a last-minute, closed-door meeting held hours before scheduled votes on the fast-track package, the president huddled with House Democrats for about a half hour.

He asked them to back a measure meant to provide aid to workers displaced by trade.

“All he asked Democrats to do is play it straight,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who supports the trade deal.

Opponents of fast-track see defeating the Trade Adjustment Assistance measure as the best way to kill fast track.

Because of the way Friday’s votes have been set up on the floor if the TAA bill is defeated the House will not vote on the fast-track measure.

Most Democrats back TAA in theory, but those who want to kill fast-track see defeating the TAA bill as their best chance of defeating fast track since many Republicans are expected to vote down TAA.

The problem isn’t so much trade authority, but the elephant in the room has always been TPP.

Labor has successfully mobilized and pressured House Democrats, who still feel the sting from NAFTA, and are in no hurry to pass a trade agreement that is supported by corporate America.

The lack of public knowledge about what the trade agreement contains has fueled the skepticism surrounding the deal.

President Obama put himself out there by going to the Hill, and if the bill doesn’t pass, this will be a stinging and very personal defeat for the president.

The margin should be razor thin, and Obama has laid it all on the line to get Democrats to support free trade.

55 Replies to “Obama Begs House Democrats To Save Fast Track Trade Bill”

  1. Begs ? According to the Hill ? Really Jason ?

    Rep Israel after Obama mtg: I think he may have changes votes..it was body language. It was passion. It was not talking pts.


    Trade supporter Rep Quigley after Obama mtg; This is the president. We trusted him to do health care..why would you not trust him?

  2. Sorry President Obama, I have backed you on everything else because it was logical and made sense. However the TPP is not Logical! It does not make sense. It gives foreign governments and foreign corporations the power to force the our government and our corporations to bend their will. Of course the reason why the Republicans back it is because THEY want to force our government to bend and give OUR corporations the power to sell us cheap and dangerous goods and we will have the power to do NOTHING while the Republicans and foreign powers make billions in profits.

  3. Now the conservative trolls will come here and point and gasp and laugh and claim that because I do not agree with this ONE SINGLE POLICY!!! That I’m really admitting that Obama has failed at everything, you know this will happen because the conservatives are that stupid and childish. And you know if I ask them to apply the same logic to what their side does in regards to policy they will drag out that poor raggedy assed straw-man to prop up and point and squeal!

  4. “President Obama put himself out there by going to the Hill, and if the bill doesn’t pass, this will be a stinging and very personal defeat for the president.”

    Tough! I’m with moongrim and others that do not agree with TAA AND TPP. The Republicans and our own corporations are drooling all over themselves to get TPP passed.

    Since whatever the Republicans want has never been good for America, I cannot see how this would be any different. NAFTA was bad enough, this promises to be even worse.

  5. Mr. President I support you in most everything you want. But not this time. I object to the TPP and the secrecy that it was negotiated under. If the treaty is so great why can’t we the people read it? Big business knows all of its contents, why can’t we the people? Jan 2017 your working life is over. You and Michelle get free food, lodging, medical, office staff for life along with free secret service protection for at least the next 10 years, extendable by some future presidents signature. This treaty will have zero effect on you, but it will effect the working lives of Americans for hundreds of years. You have nothing to lose and I suspect that you are using TPP to line your pockets post presidency. You’ve looked out for we the people for so long, please don’t screw us over with 17 months to go in the last job you will ever hold.

  6. Joseph, before you give up on President Obama, please follow these links. I know you will be surprised. This author has actually done research on TPP, and has written articles to try to clear things up for us.

    As I was typing this I saw fast track just failed. Congrats to sanders and warren, the fear tactic worked, and they didn’t even read it.


    NO: 302
    YES: 126

    CHAOS IN THE CHAMBER! The rejection by the Republican Party members has got to be a big fuck you to Boehner/Ryan et al…


    FAST TRACK PASSES 219-211 28 Democrats voted for this crap. So, now the Rules Committee will have to parse this out–it can’t go to the president without TAA. So, my guess is that they will try to bring the TAA back up.

  8. It didn’t have to be secret to bernie sanders or elizabeth warren, they lied about that. They could have read it’s entirety but chose not to. I can’t help but wonder why.
    The TPP takes precedence over corporate rights. Repubs didn’t want fast track because they wouldn’t have been able to insert stuff.

  9. I am so confused. Doin’t know what to believe. Now i understand Bernie Sanders never read the bill SMH

  10. From the news reports I’ve seen the whole TPP is available to any congress person or senator. But they have to go to a guarded room in a guarded building to read it. They can’t take notes and they aren’t allowed to speak about the specific contents of the TPP after they are done reading it. If that isn’t secret I don’t know what is. Big business knows it word for word because they helped write it. Why can’t the people that are going to get hurt the worst see the new law that is going to affect every aspect of their lives? This will affect everybody on the face of the planet Earth but when you are an ex-president living the rest of your life off the largesse of the American taxpayer in your mansion in Hawaii it probably won’t hurt as much as some poor schmuck that lost his job to somebody in Vietnam making 25 cents an hour. You want it to pass? Remove the secrecy and let us read it!

  11. Serious question. Since none of you has read it and your liberal heroes Sanders and Warren haven’t either what makes you think the President sold us out?

    BTW will you be happy when India and China will be in an position to dominate Pacific trade?

  12. You do know that all trade deals are done in secret. Google can be your friend and BTW genius we already have free trade agreements with over half of the countries that will be involved in the TPP

  13. Perhaps not signing it will give India and China a leg up in dominating the Pacific.

    Perhaps it will not.

    But both China and India are sadly lacking in human rights for their workers and protection of their respective environments.

    What I do know: Secrecy hides a lot of things. Considering the Track Record of the CIA and it’s ‘black budget’, I for one am ambivalent about anyone getting a free ride.

  14. Now the conservative trolls will come here and point and gasp and laugh and claim that because I do not agree with this ONE SINGLE POLICY!!! That I’m really admitting that Obama has failed at everything,
    Nah…I don’t think anyone can agree with their party 100% of the time….and if they did I would think it odd.
    And I’m po’ed at Republicans.
    I’m attempting to write a protest song and need a word that rhymes with “malignant shitweasels”.

  15. You do know China and India are NOT PART OF THE TPP and now they are free to form their own trade agreements.

  16. What do you have against the TAA? Trade Assistance Adjustment (TAA) program. The TAA is NOT proof that the TPP is designed to set up American workers to lose their jobs. As others tried to explain to people that the TAA is not new under PBO, and that the TAA goes back to the years of FDR. PBO and some other Dems want to strengthen the TAA for any workers who MAY inadvertently lose their jobs due to any past or future trade agreements.

  17. BTW will you be happy when India and China will be in an position to dominate Pacific trade?

    That’s why.

  18. Now I ask you Djchefron: Why do you have such a hard-on for it?
    You’ve got a thousand character limit.

  19. It’s really a simple answer. The secrecy.Would you want something negotiated on your behalf without the negotiations being open and transparent? I know I sure wouldn’t.

  20. As I have said in the past I am neither for it or against it because I haven’t read it and everything the naysayers have said about it has turned out not to be the truth. Look there is no more going back to fortress America where we dominated the world. We are not going back. This trade deal which I remind you we already have free trade with the majority of the countries would right the wrongs of NAFTA and will open up markets for American products where right now their our tariffs and quotas on certain items.

    I don’t trust the naysayers be their firebaggers who hate this President because he didn’t give them their magical unicorns. The racist teabaggers who don’t want this President to have any victory at all.

  21. OK. I’ll go along with you on that aspect.
    What do you think about the provisions in the TPP that for the most part dissolves our nation’s sovereignty such as allowing foreign, and domestic corporations to sue the nation for perceived lost profits because of regulations? That is part of the TPP. That alone is a damned good reason to oppose this agreement outright without reading it.

  22. I’m speaking strictly for myself…

    I have supported President Obama on everything except for the TPP and TAA. My opposition to these agreements has nothing to do with his race. In my opinion, these deals are bad deals, and as I hope you know organizing democrats and liberals is a lot like herding cats because like you we are mostly free thinkers and critical thinkers.

  23. As you said yourself- we already have free trade deals- then why not simply negotiate those deals for a better outcome for us?

    Why the need for a separate one? Particularly one in which there was a rush to insert language that would make it illegal for a country to limit a corporation’s profits?

    Such a modification would’ve opened up a can of worms for all kinds of evil. Human traffickers (alone) get away with enough as is.
    Which makes me wonder what exactly is in there which I don’t know about, that would make me scream in utter horror? (A bit overly melodramatic- I agree).

    Yes Mr. Sanders didn’t read it all.
    Perhaps he read- just enough to disgust him.

    Yes I feel that Dems in general, and Obama in particular can be counted on to work towards what is best for us.

    But ultimately- he is still a politician. And the fact that GITMO is still operating (along with all of the unlawfully detained) sizzles at the back of my mind.

  24. Why the need for a separate one? Particularly one in which there was a rush to insert language that would make it illegal for a country to limit a corporation’s profits?

  25. Thus, there is no basis on which a government can block the most frivolous of claims. TPP apologists might object that only a “technical” issue is being addressed in the above passage. But given the context, it is not a large step to go from a presumption that a corporation’s argument is true on its face for eligibility to be heard to presumptions in the hearing itself. The corporate lawyers who double as the arbitrators in the secret, unappealable tribunals in which cases are adjudicated under “free trade” agreements have interpreted the text of past agreements to strike down safety, health and environmental laws, and that “investors” should be guaranteed the highest possible profit. These are rulings that governments obligate themselves to carry out.


    Or perhaps I misinterpreted it.

  26. Or perhaps I misinterpreted it.
    Ah yes you have. The US has never lost in court
    The Obama Administration has built an outstanding record of success on our enforcement filings. Of the 19 complaints filed since 2009, the U.S. has won every one that has been decided so far. The U.S. has also settled one case on favorable grounds while the remaining complaints are pending.

    Over the last year alone, the U.S. has won four major victories affecting billions of dollars of U.S. exports:

    Cases Filed Against the United States of America
    Sorry you have to download the PDF

  27. Serious question. Did you know the details of the ACA? Did you know the details of the SALT or START treaties?

  28. Yes, GITMO.

    Yes I know he said he’d close it within a year, but like all things Politician- it became politically untenable.

    My point being- if he could let those who are there unlawfully, remain there- because of political expediency- what else can I or we expect him to sacrifice in other matters?

    Yes this is conjecture on my part, a gut instinct if you would. Perhaps an abandonment issue of mine (more akin to a subscription than a single issue), but combined with the fact that Republicans seemed to adore it so…

    I just get nervous, damned nervous, when Dems ‘compromise’ our core principles away- and we have done so far too many times ever since Reagan.

  29. Hmm…..not sure what to think on this one! It would appear Obama bad, Bernie Sanders good…….Hilary??

  30. Yes after debate . Do you know what Fast Track means?
    Fast track is an expedited procedure for Congressional consideration of trade agreements. It requires Congress to vote on an agreement without reopening any of its provisions, while retaining the ultimate power of voting it up or down. The three essential features of any fast track authority are:

    (1) extensive consultations and coordination with Congress throughout the process;
    (2) a vote on implementing legislation within a fixed period of time; and
    (3) an up or down vote, with no amendments.

  31. Every year Congress in the Defense Authization bill forbids the President from closing GITMO. This shit isnt rocket science try to keep up

  32. Apparently I did not. I have learned something else today.

    So what are the motivations of those who decry fast track? Particularly against TPP?

  33. I dont know. Maybe they are scared of another NAFTA even though this fixes the problems. Labor think in some magical universe if we close our eyes and think the manufacting base will come back and unions will be strong again. The baggers will be against everthing this President is for. And then you have the craven politians who run scared and stick their finger in the wind and listen to the dumbasses who call in but lets be honest dont know shit because of black helicopters and agenda 21. I just dont know

  34. Of course corporate America would support it. Its called expanding markets. Look at it like this, say you was a farmer growing soybeans. Wouldnt you want more people to sell to? Or you are GM or Ford wouldnt you want a bigger market to sell your cars?

    Come on now we may be progressives but in the end we are not stupid

  35. I have supported the president in the past and I am proud he is president of the United States. However, regarding this legislation he is dead wrong.

    The only billionaire I ever heard in my lifetime that talked the truth and seemed to really care about the middle and lower classes was Ross Perot. I remember 1992 all too well. Yes he was and perhaps is a complete nut job, but on the topic of NAFTA and “FREE TRADE” history has vindicated every one of his positions.

  36. Sounds like the same scare tactics that they used to push NAFTA down our throats — Ooooh, the Chinese will go in and take over all the Mexico trade. Baloney. All that happened was that we lost more jobs and the same thing will happen with TPP, not to mention that foreign corporations will be able to dictate our policies.

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