Fast-Track Survives Senate Vote

Despite a last-minute defection from Ted Cruz, who objected to a deal guaranteeing a vote to reauthorize Eximbank and expressed vague concerns about the impact of the TPP on immigration policy, the fast-track Trade Promotion Authority bill cleared a Senate filibuster with the bare minimum 60 votes it needed. Said Eximbank deal helped solidify a few Democratic votes, but more important was the apparent promise from Mitch McConnell and John Boehner that they’d secure the necessary Republican votes to reauthorize Trade Adjustment Assistance (which lost a vote in the House thanks to hostility to the program among GOPers and tactical voting by Democrats).

So now TPA goes to the president, and we’ll see if the many predictions that TPA makes voting on the underlying trade agreement a “rubber-stamp” turn out to be true. Obviously it will only take a majority to pass it. Probably they’re aren’t that many (if any) Members of Congress in either party who voted for TPA as a matter of principle but are not inclined to support TPP (my own position). Kevin Drum suggests that a GOP double-cross on TAA could be about the only thing that would blow up the whole thing, and he doubts that will be allowed to happen.

I hope we have a real debate over TPP, if only to call into question the “rubber-stamp” assumption. The closer we get to final ratification, the more previously secret provisions are going to leak out. They need real scrutiny, not a shrug.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.