back to article Trans Pacific Partnership 'fast-track' bill dumped

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) optimists - including US President Barack Obama - are licking their wounds after Democrats in the US Senate dumped the "fast-track" legislation needed to wrap the trade deal up according to America's preferred timetable. The Senate Democrats have drawn a bead on the perceived risk the treaty …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank f#ck for that

    This legislation stood to highlight just how thin the veneer of democracy has become, the fact it was voted down at least restores some faith that elected representatives actually represent the people who vote for them, not the people who pay them.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Thank f#ck for that

      ... the fact it was voted down at least restores some faith that elected representatives actually represent the people who vote for them, not the people who pay them.

      The bill failed to get a super-majority though it did have a simple majority. It didn't even fail on the merits of the issues that I feel strongly about (see the note concerning copyright). To me, at least, this is more a case that a small number of elected officials' interests happened to align with those of some of their constituents... Well, perhaps that is how a representative democracy works after all.

    2. tmTM

      Re: Thank f#ck for that

      It's (nearly) election time, so it's time for the Government to start doing things to appease the populous and hopefully win some seats.

  2. dan1980

    Slightly off-topic: how many flags does one person (even the president) need behind them?

    1. notowenwilson

      you can never have too many flags

      http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/03/04/tony-abbott-has-full-support-of-australias-flags/

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      As many as it takes to convince the casual observer that the guy in front of the flag has his country's best interests at heart. Are you convinced yet?

  3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    If it got Boxer's knickers in a twist it couldn't have been all bad.

    The worries about risking manufacturing jobs seems to be more posturing than anything since most have already been either shipped overseas and those that haven't been offshored are or will be replaced by robots. It's time workforce education started keeping pace with technological advances.

    1. ST Silver badge

      > It's time workforce education started keeping pace with technological advances.

      So, lead by example. Outsource yourself to a robot.

      The reasons why the Senate Democrats filibustered TPA are very valid. Everyone is expecting an even more spectacular failure in the House.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        So, lead by example. Outsource yourself to a robot.

        What makes you think I haven't? Robots of some form or another do almost a quarter of my job now and I'll be pleased as punch if I can get that doubled in the next few years.

        Let's be honest there a lot of intelligent people who are simply uneducated and forced into menial jobs that can and one day will be done by machines. That's the way it has always been and as technology advances faster so too must education and training. Sadly it seems the only time training or education comes up is when layoffs have already started since it's far easier to kick back with a six pack at the end of the day instead of continuing to learn and advance. Go ahead and relax, the jobs will come back when everyone else has finished passing us.

        Also, I didn't say there weren't valid concerns over the bill but whinging over jobs isn't really one of them. The jobs angle only makes good headlines and the pols know it.

  4. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Probably a good thing....

    I get concerned when a trade treaty is so secret that members of Congress are required to leave all electronics behind when going into a reading room to view the treaty, and they can't even take written notes on what they read in the text.

  5. Haku

    I have not read anything that would suggest TPP is beneficial to the world as a whole.

    Do any unbiased articles that praise the TPP actually exist?

    1. ST Silver badge

      Re: I have not read anything that would suggest TPP is beneficial to the world as a whole.

      > Do any unbiased articles that praise the TPP actually exist?

      They can't exist, because the text of the TPP is classified Top Secret. It would be illegal to discuss its contents in public, or publish excerpts of it. Members of Congress can read the text of the TPP in classified settings only, but cannot take notes, make copies, or discuss it openly.

      Which raises a very interesting question as to the legality of granting Obama Trade Promotion Authority (fast-track) for a trade treaty which cannot be openly debated by Congress in consultation with its constituents.

      1. Dr Stephen Jones

        Re: I have not read anything that would suggest TPP is beneficial to the world as a whole.

        Why hasn't the author of this article been arrested yet?

        http://www.salon.com/2015/05/12/the_10_biggest_lies_youve_been_told_about_the_trans_pacific_partnership/

        If the contents of TPP is not known, then every article about it is speculative, like this one.

        1. ST Silver badge

          Re: I have not read anything that would suggest TPP is beneficial to the world as a whole.

          > If the contents of TPP is not known, then every article about it is speculative, like this one.

          The article is based on public statements about the TPP made by Obama and the Obama Administration, not on the text of the TPP Treaty. The article quotes Obama's public statements about the TPP. There are no quotes from the TPP Treaty itself.

          A detail you must have noticed, assuming you read the article.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I have not read anything that would suggest TPP is beneficial to the world as a whole.

        Which raises a very interesting question as to the legality of granting Obama Trade Promotion Authority (fast-track) for a trade treaty which cannot be openly debated by Congress in consultation with its constituents lobbying partners.

        FTFY. In this case, while it's good that it's stopped (for now), the secrecy is also keeping it away from the lobbyists.. or not. It could be the lobbyists have written the damn thing.

        1. Yes Me Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: could be the lobbyists have written the damn thing

          It's pretty certain that lobbyists for the copyright "industry" have written some of it, along with lobbyists for patent trolls and Big Pharma. Protecting egregious profiteering by Big Pharma is rumoured to be one of the main points, and keeping it secret is clearly intended to avoid the inconvenience of open discussion.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Democratic posturing for the Left Wing

    Are we really to believe that the Senate Democrats don't know Democrat Obama's parameters for the trade deal, or don't trust him to sell them out? This is pure posturing for the benefit of the antiquarian anti-trade wing of their party.

    In fact, it risks selling out their constituents, as the treaty may be negotiated by a Republican president, should it not be concluded by 2016. But posturing is what this constituency wants.

    1. ST Silver badge

      Re: Democratic posturing for the Left Wing

      > the treaty may be negotiated by a Republican president, should it not be concluded by 2016

      In which case this future hypothetical treaty - negotiated by a future hypothetical Republican president - will have to go through the same Congressional approval process, yes?

      What exactly is your point? That Congress should give Obama TPA for the TPP now because a future hypothetical treaty might be worse than the current one?

      Your logic is deeply flawed, Sir.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Democratic posturing for the Left Wing

      Actually we are. He has gone completely Clinton on this one. Pun intended.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our Congresscritters

    Our congresscritters are a funny bunch. They never want to read a bill before they vote on it. They have their minds made up about the matter before the vote ever comes up. They love to pass legislation when a president has served his last possible term. That is an opportunity for them to blame the outgoing president of their mistakes.

    American politics has been reduced to about the same status as a circus. It is all for show and nothing more.

    1. Thorne

      Re: Our Congresscritters

      That's because lobbyists have told them what to think (while shoving a paper bag of cash under the table)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they've got nothing to fear....

    But, alas, they do.

  9. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    However, earlier in May he voiced fears that without fast-track legislation, negotiations would run into US presidential electioneering, effectively spiking a final deal until well into 2017.

    This can only be a good thing. The longer the better.

    There is so much that is deeply, deeply troubling with the degree of secrecy around an agreement that affects so many people around the world. Forcing those who are permitted to read it to rely on memory for anything they find objectionable seems entirely designed to make criticism and rational argument impossible.

  10. crayon

    "One of those bills sought to prevent currency manipulation by China."

    So that's the whole point of the TPP.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gee, I wonder if Obama and the Republicans will have to pay back the money that major corporations gave them to push the TPP through Congress without anyone examining what was in the TPP?

  12. Dan Paul

    So called "Transparency"?

    Hell has finally froze over and the Earth has stopped rotating on it's axis.

    Senate Democrats have finally woken up and discovered that their President is about as opaque as a brick wall and is obviously hiding something again.

    The reason this is "Fast Track" is because they are trying to pull a fast one on the American public. The TPPA bill (which no one is allowed to read) is only secret due to the fact the legislation would give something away that we can't afford to do anymore.

    We can't vote on ANY legislation without examining what it is and when you have thousands of pages in a bill, it takes a few weeks to give it any kind of justice.

    Just look at all the hidden taxes buried in the so called "Affordable Care Act" that are like time bombs due to explode AFTER Obama runs away in two years.

    None of that was able to be discerned when the bill passed because it was so voluminous.

    Obfuscation by sheer volume in this case puts all Americans jobs at risk and we can't afford that crap EVER again. It should be illegal to dupe the public through liberal application of bullshit and thats exactly what is happening here, NAFTA was bad enough.

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