Is the TPP Dead?
Jan. 31, 2014 3:41 pm
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he opposes giving the President new fast-track powers. In his the State of the Union, President Obama asked Congress to work on “tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority” - the name of proposed fast-track legislation. However, on Wednesday when asked about it, Harry Reid said “I'm against fast track.” Reid told reporters that he would not guarantee floor time for the proposal, saying “everyone would be well advised not to push this right now.”
So, does this mean that the TPP is as good as dead? The middle class is toast unless we radically rethink our country’s trade policy. And the best way to start rethinking our trade policy is to ditch the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. For over 200 years after the founding of the Republic - our economy was built on a system of tariffs. Everything worked fine until the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan abandoned the system of tariffs that had worked so well for centuries and ushered in the golden era of so-called “free-trade.” Nixon had already put the United States on the "free-trade" path in the 1970s - but things really took off in the Reagan years. Every President since, including Democrats like Bill Clinton, has followed Reagan's lead by slashing tariffs and signing us on to free-trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA.
This has been a disaster for the American working people and that disaster would worsen under the TPP. If President Obama doesn’t get fast tracking powers it’s going to be very hard - maybe even impossible for him to get Congress to pass the TPP. Democrats and Republicans alike oppose the deal, and without party leadership on board, getting the TPP through Congress will cost a lot of what remaining political capital he has left. Thankfully, Harry Reid who is a former boxer, may have just given the TPP a knockout punch.