Thursday, May 21, 2015

US Senate Manages Non-Debate Democracy Corporatacracy Fast-Track TPP Advancement Bill Fiasco Approach


""The decision on whether to surrender the authority of the US Congress to amend and potentially improve trade agreements goes to the very heart of whether the United Statesrespects democracy. If members of the House and Senate cannot check and balance executive branch choices that will define the economic future of the country, then the ability of the American people to petition for the redress of economic and social grievances and to have those grievances addressed by their elected representatives is severely undermined. That is what is at stake with debates about whether to eliminate basic congressional oversight of trade deals, via the “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority that President Obama seeks.
The vote Thursday by the Senate to shut down debate on a measure to provide Obama with this authority was the first step in the deconstruction of the democratic processes by which citizens can influence not just trade but economic policy. If the Senate now approves fast track, and if the House goes along with the plan, then the ability to alter or improve sweeping new trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be lost. All that will remain is a take-it-or-leave-it vote on final approval of a deal negotiated behind closed doors and without adequate scrutiny by the American people or their elected representatives.
It came when 13 Democrats joined 49 Republicans in supporting a cloture motion Thursday. Thirty-one Democrats, two independents who caucus with the Democrats, and five Republicans opposed the move to shut down debate about amendments and to effectively restrict meaningful discourse on what the measure’s sponsor, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, described as “quite possibly the most important debate that we’ll have all year in Congress.”
Among the senators who are current or potential presidential prospects, Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, voted “no,” as did Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. So, too, did Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky. But Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida sided with the Obama White House and the corporate interests that have advocated aggressively for fast track and the TPP.
The Senate’s 62-38 decision to end debate on the president’s proposal to fast-track what could be the largest trade deals in American history was a travesty.""


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