Thank You, Senate Democrats, For Delaying The Disastrous TPP Deal

Normally I support President Obama. I think he will go down in history as one of our best presidents (remember, he pretty much saved us from the brink of a depression).

But today I am happy that Senate Democrats just derailed debate on President Obama’s trade deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership. The Senate voted 52-45, short of the 60 votes needed. The vote went almost completely along party lines, with one Democrat, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, supporting the measure. Mitch McConnell voted “No” as a procedural to bring it up again in the future.

Long story short, I believe President Obama let his ego (and yearn for a legacy in the face of a GOP Congress) get in the way of good, sound decisions. Usually he is very good with doing the right thing for America. This time is different.

As we now know, fast track would allow Congress to approve or reject trade deals negotiated by presidential administrations but not amend deals like the TPP for the next 6 years (let’s hope we don’t have a Republican in office by 2021). Democrats like Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were among the most fervent opponents of the deal. Relations between the White House and Elizabeth Warren have become extremely hostile and heated over the Senator’s opposition.

Warren and Reid have good reasons to be against this trade deal.

Never mind that the TPP lacks transparency, it’s virtually NAFTA on steroids. While President Obama insists that the trade deal will create over 600,000 new jobs, the researchers at the Peterson Institute for International Economics have gone on record saying, “We don’t believe that trade agreements change the labor force in the long run.” Warren also correctly pointed out that the deal could  “punch holes in Dodd-Frank without directly repealing it,” because it would force regulators to undo capital or leverage requirements set up in Dodd-Frank. Reports show that the deal would widen the gap of wages, create a wedge between green jobs due to corporate power, and

Bottom line: this would be a deal in heaven for big business, but does nothing for middle class America. In fact, some reports have this deal raising prices for drugs, movies, and music here in America.

Luckily, the firebrand progressivism of Elizabeth Warren, Harry Reid, and Bernie Sanders (with Alan Grayson in the House) united Democrats in opposing the regressive trade deal. Mitch McConnell called it “shocking” that it didn’t pass, so that must mean something good for the American people.

Image via Senate Democrats flickr page