Obama-trade didn’t make it alive out of the House, thanks to Democratic opposition. The vote was 302 against and 126 for. In theory, Obama-trade would allow Obama to negotiate with other nations in the Pacific region and bring that deal to Congress where they could only cast a “yes” or “no” vote. Without “fast track” authority, Congress could add as many amendments to that deal as they wanted.
The problem is the secrecy issue. Allegations – confirmed by some in Congress – that Obama-trade has secret clauses giving the administration a freer hand in deciding immigration policy and “global warming” laws is sinking the bill:
If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.
If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.
And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.
The Obama administration is negotiating with over a dozen other nations and “free trade” is always a hot button issue, particularly with Democrats who often campaign that American jobs are being exported (a charge usually leveled at Republicans). The main concern appears to be that there are no assurances that nations will not use currency devaluation to artificially alter the marketplace (such as China making their goods cheaper thereby costing American jobs).
It remains to be seen how much Democratic support Obama will pick-up but it is doubtful the bill will pass. What is likely is that while there may very well be secret powers given to Obama, Republicans will want to “get it done” in order to deliver a win to big business.