California Democrats Oppose Obama over Trade, ‘Fast-Track’ Powers

The 39 California Democrat members of the House of Representatives almost unanimously oppose Barack Obama’s request for fast-track trade promotion authority, which would expedite his desire to pass the 12-nation Asian trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The only California Democrat in the House, and one of only 13 Democrats total in the House, to side with Obama is Ami Bera, from Elk Grove (7th district), who was invited for two rides on Air Force One so Obama could cajole him into supporting Obama’s request.

The Bee reports that Bera asserted, “All the Western states–Washington state, Oregon and California– all benefit from opening up these export markets. There’s a real opportunity to revive the manufacturing sector in the United States, and certainly in California.” He added that he supports the fast-track bill but is reserving judgment on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He noted, “As I said to the president when he asked for my vote, I said, ‘I’ll give you the support to negotiate the deal, but if you negotiate a bad deal, you don’t have my vote on TPP.”

Saturday morning, outside the Anaheim Convention Center, where the 2015 California Democrtaic Convention was held, union members protested the prospective Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, which the California Democratic Party officially opposes, while inside, Senator Elizabeth Warren appealed to the party’s hard-liners, intoning, “Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to dominate secret trade negotiations. Before Congress votes on any trade deal, we want to see that trade deal out in public and we’re willing to fight for it.”

The Senate voted on Thursday to move forward on the fast-track bill, despite the opposition of most Democrats. The bedfellows on the proposed fast-track legislation are strange indeed:Obama is allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY). McConnell even said on Thursday that Obama “has done his country a service by taking on his base,” adding, “He should be recognized for it.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi countered that Obama’s request for fast-track authority could last six years and should be shortened. Hillary Clinton, who supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership when she served as Secretary of State, has not indicated which side she supports on the fast-track legislation.

According to the Bee, only 67 House Republicans side with Obama, with up to 40 Democrats possibly supporting their leader.


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