Obama, Biden, Pelosi Lobbying Hard for TPP, by @Gaius_Publius

Obama, Biden & Pelosi Lobbying Hard for TPP

by Gaius Publius

"Pelosi said Friday that she is searching for a 'path to yes.'"

As you may know, I've been writing a lot lately about TPP, the next NAFTA-style job-killing (and sovereignty-killing) trade agreement — for example, here:

The State of the Union, Hillary Clinton & Obama’s “Piketty Moment”

NAFTA, TPP, and The Clinton Global Initiative’s “Free Trade” Activism

I've also discussed TPP and its congressional prospects with Rep. Alan Grayson in a recent one-hour interview. He's as concerned as the rest of us. There is absolutely no question that TPP is a corporate (meaning, billionaire) wet dream, a profit maker and a U.S. job killer in one sweet package. (Yes, killing U.S. jobs is a goal, not a by-product. No billionaire CEO worth his luxury jet wants to pay one dime for an overpaid U.S. worker when slaves in China are next to free. Let them eat joblessness until they change their pay demands.)

TPP is also the next step in the neutering of democratic government by the global wealthy, who see the creation of even more wealth as the only goal of life on earth and the only real use for government. (Click for a short explainer on the sovereignty-killing feature of these agreements.)

In addition, I've written about Obama's recent on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand "progressivism." He gives what appears to be protection to the Arctic Wildlife Preserve from carbon extraction (addressing climate in a small but visible way) and takes back by opening large areas of the eastern seacoast for further drilling (and spilling). He gives what appears to be an open Internet (finally) and takes back in failing to prosecute Darren Wilson for his alleged crimes, or Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp for theirs.

But there's no on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand about TPP. It's a bad deal all round, for the U.S. and for the world. It's a billionaire parting gift from his last two years in office — only they will benefit from it — and a hard slap at his legacy and America, with zero to offset it.

Ask yourself: What's the strongest argument its proponents make for TPP? It's NAFTA only better, this time with jobs.

Everyone on the planet who cares, or is unbought, knows that the results of the 20-year-long NAFTA experiment are in. NAFTA was a disaster for everyone in the world without at least a million in wealth, and a feast for everyone with more than a billion.

Obama, Biden and Nancy Pelosi are selling the next NAFTA

I meant those two classes of TPP opponents — people who care about the health of the nation, and people who are unbought by wealth. Everyone else, TPP proponents, are either unconcerned about you and me, bought and paid not to care, or just plain deluded. As you read the following, pick a category for the actors mentioned (and bolded) below. Each will fall into one or more of those three groups.

Obama cranks up trade pitch to Dems

The president and Joe Biden both made their case at the House Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and a phalanx of top administration officials are making the sales pitch to congressional Democrats for fast-track authority on trade deals.

Obama and Biden each made that plea during their appearances at this week’s House Democratic retreat in Philadelphia, which ended Friday. Top White House economic adviser Jeffrey Zients, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Labor Secretary Tom Perez have also joined the effort to sway House and Senate Democrats, as well as some skeptical Republicans.

The administration hopes to secure the 30 to 50 Democratic yes votes in the House that might be needed to push a trade bill over the top. ...

Obama also pledged to work with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) so that members have better access to the “substance of the agreements,” sources said.

Biden also gave a forceful pitch for trade during his closed-door appearance at the retreat Friday.

The legislation also has support from the New Democrat Coalition, an alliance of pro-business lawmakers. The group estimates that roughly 30 of its members will ultimately support the fast-track measure, according to a private memo obtained by POLITICO. ...

Any legislation from Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), top committee Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will probably be unveiled in late February. The Finance Committee is expected to first. ...

“We only have one of three options,” [Rep. Ron] Kind said. “Continue the status quo; have a global trading world with a China rule; or us being at the head of the table. That’s all we got.” ...

House Democratic leaders say they’re keeping an opening mind but that lawmakers will pay close attention to how wage protections are included in any proposal.

Pelosi said Friday that she is searching for a “path to yes.” ...
Well? The whole article is filled with inside-baseball reporting, unnamed troubled "pro-business" lawmakers, and on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand argumentation. A good read, in other words.

All you need to know

Your President and Vice-President; the Treasury Secretary (who represents Banking); the Secretary of Commerce (who hates workers); the Secretary of Labor (what?); "liberal" senator Ron Wyden; "liberal" House Leader Nancy Pelosi — all want to craft a path to Yes on TPP. "The administration hopes to secure the 30 to 50 Democratic yes votes in the House that might be needed to push a trade bill over the top." Remember that magic number. Thirty-to-fifty Democrats.

While we're at it, here are a few magic numbers of our own:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi — (202) 225-4965 — "Contact me" page
Senator Ron Wyden — (202) 224-5244 — "Contact me" page
Labor Secretary Tom Perez — (202) 693-4900 (trade office; others here)

You don't need permission to call; they all claim to work for you.

The president needs to pass "Fast Track" legislation first or TPP is dead, so that will be the crucial House vote. (And if Fast Track gets to the Senate, the vote on cloture will be the crucial vote. Don't take any nonsense about "I voted to break the filibuster because I wanted to kill the bill." We've seen that plane before; it won't fly twice.)

We'll be following this. Stay tuned. (And please, operators really are waiting. Do call.)