fast track

Reversing Grassroots Win, US Senate Approves Fast Track Trade Measure – Deirdre Fulton

Progressives reacted with dismay as the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a motion to begin debate on the Fast Track authority President Barack Obama needs to advance controversial trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The measure passed 65-33.

Senate Democrats blocked the first attempt to proceed on the trade legislation on Tuesday, butbacktracked in the wake of further negotiations—and intense pressure from the White House.

The 13 Democrats who voted with big business and the Republicans Thursday are:  Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The full Senate roll call is here.

With Thursday’s vote, Fast Track has cleared a major procedural hurdle.

Now, according to The Hill, “[t]he chamber is expected to vote on amendments to the package Tuesday, a process that could extend into June depending on how many proposals Democrats want to consider on the floor.”

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly wants to pass the bill before Memorial Day with a large bipartisan majority to give it maximum political momentum heading to the House, where the opponents of the TPP hold more influence.

Regarding that opposition in the House, the Huffington Post reported Thursday:

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