by Michael Stumo
I was in DC last week focusing mostly on the TPP. Here is the current status.
Paul Ryan again said, last week, that the TPP won't come up for a vote in the lame duck session. McConnell has said this before as well. However, their statements leave wiggle room for something changing.
(Note: You can see my video report here).
Lame Duck sessions can be a problem because that is when Congress is least accountable to the voters. The next election is 2 years away. Many members won't be returning because of retirements or defeats and will never face the voters.
The biggest issue is whether the votes are there. Today they are not. Sen Orrin Hatch, Senate Finance Committee chairman, would start working the bill if his pet issue of data exclusivity periods for biologics was fixed to his, and Big Pharma's, satisfaction. If that happened, that could change the math immediately and give momentum to pro-TPP forces.
Rep. Brady, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, would also be motivated to start marking up the bill. The White House would dispatch Air Force One for congressional joy rides and send all cabinet members to the Hill seeking votes.
Members concerned with the tobacco companies' exclusion from the ability to sue other nations for rule changes in global tribunals would probably be gettable.
The vote count right now is probably as strong for us as we've seen it. Let's look at the House. Thinking back to the Fast Track trade authority bill, all Republicans voted for it except 54. All Dems voted against it except 28. The result was narrow passage of Fast Track.
I think the Dems are holding firm on both sides, so we are at 28. That could move 4 votes either way, but probably not more. The GOP is where the action is. I believe the 54 are holding firm as "no on TPP". There are at least 16 pro-Fast Track GOP members that are either definitely or most likely "no on TPP". There are probably a few more that lean our way.
If that holds, we will win by having no vote at all. Because leadership would not bring it up unless they had a probably shot at getting a majority of "yes" votes.
It is key to attack the foundations of the free trade agreement model in terms of the trade deficit and net job creation. That is because they cannot "fix" those issues without a fundamental rethink. For CPA, that is the holy grail.
It is strategically crucial to focus upon the Investor-State Dispute System where foreign companies can sue the US for unlimited money without appeal to be paid for by taxpayers. It is important to focus on sovereignty as the globalists write rules to divest our national government from rule and law making power.
Right now, we must add the fact of the manifest unfairness and trickery of trying to slip the TPP through the Lame Duck when they were too afraid to vote before the election. And when both presidential candidates oppose it. Can you imagine the hubris of passing a permanent deal with 11 nations that will govern the next administration that wants its own shot at re-doing trade policy? Especially in the face of national and global citizen dissatisfaction with the old model?