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McConnell Might Save Obama’s Trade Deal — and Lose Senate in 2016
The New American ^ | 5/7/2015 | Jack Kenny

Posted on 05/08/2015 3:43:28 AM PDT by HomerBohn

If President Obama is to succeed in advancing the so-called free trade agenda, he will have to overcome some stiff opposition from his fellow Democrats.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is preparing to bring Trade Promotion Authority to a vote in the Senate next week, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to put off consideration of the matter while the Senate deals with legislation on highway funding and renewal of government surveillance authority under the PATRIOT Act.

Meanwhile, a number of Democrats seeking to replace GOP incumbents in the U.S. Senate next year are already exploiting the trade issue in states where Republicans are considered vulnerable. "At the risk of having some of you literally faint, I want to compliment the president for the way he’s handling the trade issue,” McConnell told reporters at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Working closely with the White House on trade legislation has “been almost an out-of-body experience,” the majority leader said. “We’re working to get together to try to get it across the finish line.”

President Obama summoned a group of Senate Democrats to the White House Wednesday in an effort to shore up support for the trade bill, Politico reported. Those in attendance included Democrats who are undecided about giving the president “fast-track” authority to finalize negotiations on a deal that Congress would be able to vote for or against, but without the opportunity to add any amendments.

The administration is seeking the fast-track authorization for its proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on trade with Pacific Rim nations. Republicans have supported legislation to remove trade barriers with other nations for at least the past two decades, going back to President Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), passed with overwhelming Republican support in the lame-duck session of 1994. Congressional Democrats, with the support of organized labor, have generally opposed the trade agreements, arguing they have resulted in closed plants and lost jobs here at home, as the lowering of tariffs and other trade barriers have encouraged manufacturers to shift jobs overseas while continuing to enjoy the advantages of selling in the vast U.S. market. The significantly lower wages in Third World countries, they contend, along with the lack of environmental and health regulations that U.S. firms must deal with, give an unfair cost and price advantage to goods manufactured overseas.

Reid has said he won’t be able to block the legislation indefinitely, since seven Democrats are already on record in support of Republican efforts to put the agreement on fast track. That, together with solid Republican support, is expected to be enough to pass the authorization. But proponents fear that even the procedural delays that Reid could throw up will give labor groups and Democrats against the bill more time to mobilize opposition.

Opponents might find fresh ammunition in the U.S. Census Bureau report this week, showing another huge spike in the nation’s balance-of-trade deficit. The deficit for March was $51.4 billion, an increase of 43.1 percent over the February deficit of $35.9 billion. The trade deficit with Korea has more than doubled in the first three full years since the adoption of the free trade agreement with that Asian nation. U.S. imports from Korea have increased by $11.3 billion a year since the agreement was adopted, while American exports to that country have actually declined by six percent, or $2.7 billion.

The numbers are significant, since advocates have long argued that free trade agreements bolster American businesses and create more jobs for American workers by increasing the markets for U.S. exports. Opponents claim pet economic theories in Washington, D.C. are being slain by the facts of economic decline in the rest of the country.

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat, plans to make trade policy one of the “major defining issues” in his Senate race against incumbent Republican Rob Portman. “The people of Ohio are sick and tired of trade deals which result in jobs and the economy being injured,” he told The Hill. “That’s why this is going to be a major issue between Sen. Portman and myself.” Portman, who served as a top trade official in the George W. Bush administration, fired back, saying it is Strickland’s opposition to trade deals that would injure the state’s economy.

“What he’s talking about is killing jobs in Ohio,” Portman said. “If you’re not for exports, you’re not for jobs. Our state is a big exporting state.” Portman accused the Democrat of “taking a radical position by saying we shouldn’t be expanding markets for our farmers and our workers.”

Strickland is not alone, however, in believing opposition to trade deals will be a winner for Democrats, especially in Midwestern and “rust belt” states such as Ohio, where hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been lost.

In Wisconsin, where former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is polling ahead of GOP Senator Ron Johnson, a progressive group led by Feingold has labeled the Trans-Pacific Partnership “ruinous for our middle class.”

In Missouri, Democrat Jason Kander, who is already running against GOP Senator Roy Blunt, has put out a four-minute YouTube video about the TPP, calling it “a bad deal for Missouri.”

“The Obama administration is negotiating this deal in secret and asking Congress to fast-track it before the final details are really known,” Kander says on the video. “So I don’t think Congress should just rubber-stamp a trade agenda when so much is at stake.” Kander, Missouri’s 34-year-old secretary of state, warned that the trade deal could threaten the progress enjoyed by the auto industry in the state, where 20,000 automotive or auto-related jobs have been added in the past five years. He cited a statistic published by the American Automotive Policy Council, something that might prove awkward for Blount, whose son, former Governor Matt Blount, is president and top lobbyist for the group.

“The American Automotive Policy Council says that between the years 2000 and 2012, 180,000 vehicles were exported by our country to Japan, while Japan sent to us 16.3 million,” Kander said. “Why would we do anything that could make that ratio worse?”

In Pennsylvania, Republican Senator Pat Toomey, former head of the pro-free trade Club for Growth, voted for fast-track authority in the Finance Committee. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, one of two Democrats looking to run against him, said he would fight against TPP to save Pennsylvania jobs. Pawlowski’s likely primary opponent, former Representative Joe Sestak, has not yet weighed in on TPP, The Hill reports, while noting that Sestak opposed trade deals when he was in the House.

In Florida, Representative Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, hopes to succeed Senator Marco Rubio, who is campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination. Murphy has declared his opposition to “any trade deal that fails Florida jobs, labor standards or the environment.”

In Maryland, where Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski will retire at the end of next near, two Democrats looking to succeed her — Representatives Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards — are both opposed to fast-track, but Edwards has said she’ll use Van Hollen’s past support of trade deals against him.

Republicans don’t deny there is a good deal of popular sentiment running against the type of trade deals presidents have been negotiating and Congress has been ratifying over the past two decades. But they claim they are performing the rare political feat of doing what is right, instead of what’s popular. “Trust me, I realize free trade is not a popular thing,” Senator Johnson, a former plastics manufacturer, said at a recent town hall event in New London, Wisconsin. “It’s always easy to show the plant that shut down and when another plant has opened up in China,” he said. “What’s a more difficult case to make is the benefit we all have by being able to purchase cheaper products.”

“World feed needs are going to double in the next 55 years, and the Mississippi River Valley is the biggest contiguous piece of agricultural ground in the world, Missouri’s Senator Blunt told The Hill. “The Mississippi River is the trade artery of that great piece of agricultural ground. Whether it’s production or processing, these are great opportunities, and now is the time to more fully open the door to these opportunities.”

The GOP devotion to free trade could be the party’s Achilles' heel next year as Republicans try to hold on to the Senate majority they worked so hard to win in 2012. One Democratic strategist, quoted anonymously by The Hill, likened trade agreements to landmines. “Forget party or the politician. In this cycle, trade deals like TPP are political landmines — support them and your political career likely goes bye-bye,” the strategist predicted. “It’s a simple matter of trust: Voters don’t trust trade deals, and they don’t trust politicians when they say ‘trust us, this trade deal is different.’”

All of which could mean that Mitch McConnell’s “out-of-body experience” in working with Obama on the latest trade deal could result in an out-of-Senate experience for several of his Republican colleagues next year.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: republicrats; slimeballmcconnell; usefulidiots
It's too damned bad that this weasel was reelected by Kentucky voters. He is to the Republican Senate what Bob Michel was to the House: worthless!

The contents of these trade bills will be kept top secret, granting unconstitutional power to the President to write into trade treaties anything he desires to promote the UN's New World Order and further subsidize the rise of Red China.

The Constitution specifically grants Congressional oversight, debate and approval of all Trade Treaties.

McConnell's role is much like Obama's: to further ruin this nation now reduced to pitiful status.

America needs at least two decades of rule by a benevolent despot to cleanse our entire political and judicial mess that began in 1913.

Obama's power should be reduced to sharpening pencils and eventually making license tags.

1 posted on 05/08/2015 3:43:28 AM PDT by HomerBohn
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To: HomerBohn

McConnell (Democrat, alQaeda-Kentucky)
is a Traitor to his voters, to the Constitution,
and has been — with McCain — the GOP
enabler of ISIS (both foreign and domestic),
and enabler of slavery and crucifixion,
and enabler of IRS abuse of Tea Party and conservatives
(his own party).

A rattlesnake is more honest and safer than
the scum from Kentucky.

2 posted on 05/08/2015 3:46:17 AM PDT by Diogenesis ("When a crime is unpunished, the world is unbalanced.")
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To: HomerBohn

I predict that Republicans will lose both the House and the Senate in 2016 as the Conservative wing of the GOP, tired of being continually shat upon by the elites, stays at home (myself included).

This, of course, will result in yet another loss of the White House.

The Republicans have ceased to be a viable political alternative, and they have no one but themselves to blame.

3 posted on 05/08/2015 4:15:32 AM PDT by Arm_Bears (Biology is biology. Everything else is imagination.)
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To: Arm_Bears
I agree with you about that very strong possibility.

This past November, constitutional conservatives gave overwhelming support to Republicans, in spite of total disgust about Cochran and his cronies stealing that nomination. The result was an overwhelming victory, beyond the most optimistic predictions.

Those establishment Republicans were given enough rope to be a lifeline to maybe save the US or to hang themselves. After the election, they've used their new power to vote in everything we hate. They hung themselves.

Those pretend constitutional conservatives in DC? They had to get the first job done....oust Boehner and McConnell. They didn't. Everything else was bound to go against us from then on.

4 posted on 05/08/2015 4:34:56 AM PDT by grania
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To: Arm_Bears
The Republicans as a vehicle to implement conservatism is dead. They are a party that wants to be "part of the process" IE getting their share of the loot in Washington. It's time to move on and let them either die or merge with their ideological allies the Democratic party.
5 posted on 05/08/2015 4:51:58 AM PDT by bonehead4freedom
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To: Arm_Bears

I pointedly made that comment the other day i.e. I will vote for the dem who is running for the senatorial seat in Fl opened by Rubio’s presidential run. I am doing whatever I can to get the POS McConnell and the other jerk Bonehead out of their power positions even if it means sinking the country. Frankly, with them in power it is just a longer ride to the oblivion anyway. Anyone who disagrees with that is ignorant to what is going on. Kentucky had the chance to send this turkey packing but elected him back for another six years. My decision is cast, I’d rather be in hell than in their party heaven.

Allegely local politics is where it all begins and locally the conservative GOP has been making huge gains in most states, however, it seems to have no effect on the overall party who elect dolts like McConnell and Bonehead as leaders. So be it, you got it, live with it.

6 posted on 05/08/2015 4:59:50 AM PDT by Mouton (The insurrection laws perpetuate what we have for a government now.)
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To: HomerBohn

It’s a secret trade deal with all sorts of bad stuff that is surely in it- that’s why they’re secret.
‘We’ll have to pass it to see what’s in it” now, I’m quoting McConnell.
The Uniparty sucks.

7 posted on 05/08/2015 5:16:17 AM PDT by grumpygresh (Democrats & GOPe delenda est. U.S. Federal government = 1930s Nazi gov.)
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To: HomerBohn
McConnell Might Save Obama’s Trade Deal — and Lose Senate in 2016

To all those Kentucky voters whom I urged to vote for the Democrat, how does McConnell's @$$ taste now?

“If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.” - Alexander Hamilton

8 posted on 05/08/2015 6:05:18 AM PDT by DiogenesLamp
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To: HomerBohn
It's too damned bad that this weasel was reelected by Kentucky voters. He is to the Republican Senate what Bob Michel was to the House: worthless!

He is not worthless, he is something much worse. He is a man who supports all the wrong policies and people, and he does so in our name, and with money and support that would be better used elsewhere. A Democrat would be an improvement.

9 posted on 05/08/2015 6:07:09 AM PDT by DiogenesLamp
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To: Mouton

Then you are a fool.

10 posted on 05/08/2015 6:50:33 AM PDT by Catsrus
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To: Catsrus

It is rather simple to post a negative comment. So, you are a party hack who votes simply because they have an R after their name? And you call me a fool. So be it.

11 posted on 05/08/2015 7:53:11 AM PDT by Mouton (The insurrection laws perpetuate what we have for a government now.)
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To: grumpygresh

‘We’ll have to pass it to see what’s in it”

That’s the definition of a stool sample. Nutsy Pelousy gets the credit for the inane comment.

12 posted on 05/08/2015 7:55:49 AM PDT by HomerBohn (God is just, but his justice cannot sleep forever!)
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To: Diogenesis

You nailed the lemon-sucking McConnell perfectly!

13 posted on 05/08/2015 7:59:19 AM PDT by HomerBohn (God is just, but his justice cannot sleep forever!)
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To: HomerBohn

I fully expect the senate to go back to the Dems in 2016. Why have Dem lite when you can have the real thing?

14 posted on 05/08/2015 8:10:35 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose o f a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Mouton

I’m absolutely not a party hack - I would never vote for a Demoncrat as you suggested - I’d simply not vote if there isn’t a conservative on the ballot. To vote for a D - is to say you agree with their platform and agenda. So, you are a fool if you vote for a D. That’s all!

15 posted on 05/08/2015 9:46:06 AM PDT by Catsrus
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To: Catsrus

OK, I can go with that, will just not vote.

16 posted on 05/08/2015 10:01:59 AM PDT by Mouton (The insurrection laws perpetuate what we have for a government now.)
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To: Georgia Girl 2

I do as well even if a Republican were to win the White House. The Republican congress will be as hated as obama come 2016. They would rather suckle at the tit of the Chamber of Crony Fascism and work with the democrats than represent the people who voted for them. The Chamber will make sure these Benedict Arnolds in 3 piece suites are well compensated for their treason.

17 posted on 05/08/2015 10:34:09 AM PDT by sarge83
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To: sarge83

More than likely you are right.

18 posted on 05/08/2015 12:58:14 PM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose o f a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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