House leadership is struggling to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) by the end of this week, which would grant President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate his trade deals. Some say GOP leaders are so eager to make a deal, they’re willing to take a hit by giving a big campaign issue to Democrats in 2016.
“Speaker Boehner is walking his conference off of the Medicare cut political cliff to give the Democrats a free pass,” President of Americans for Limited Government Rick Manning tells Breitbart News.
According to a Vox article – passed around by the Republican National Committee – Democrats aren’t supporting the measure because of TAA – the Trade Adjustment Assistance package that helps workers who are harmed by trade deals. So, Republican leadership (Boehner and Ryan) folded on TAA in order to win votes.
TAA would cost about $750 million and under budget rules this number must be offset, so the offset that the Senate put forward was cutting Medicare by that amount. The Medicare cuts aren’t expected to occur until 2024, but for purposes of the rules, the Senate had to do that.
Republican leadership folded on TAA, giving Demcorats the capacity to say ‘we voted against the Republican Medicare cuts.’
The House is expected to begin consideration of three trade-related measures on Friday: fast-track authority for the president (which is also known as Trade Promotion Authority or TPA), a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) package for training workers affected by trade, and a bill extending preferential treatment to certain trading partners and goods.
House Republican leaders have said that if the TAA bill fails, they won’t move on to the fast-track bill. That’s important because it makes the TAA measure a juicy target for those who want to stop the fast-track bill in its tracks. Ostensibly, the fight on Wednesday was over the TAA bill.
According to Vox, Pelosi got Boehner to cut a provision that required Democrats to support a Medicare cut if they voted yes – but Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) is demanding more changes regarding the TAA.
DeLauro is arguing that money from a Medicare dialysis provision should be returned to Medicare.
“What’s really going on, several sources concluded, is that DeLauro, a close ally of organized labor, won’t accept yes for an answer on the TAA bill because she wants to kill fast-track authority for the president,” Vox reported. “And she said as much at the closed-door meeting of House Democratic leaders, telling Pelosi that the majority of the Democratic caucus doesn’t support the fast-track bill.”
Senate Republicans and Democrats who voted for TPA – to give Obama fast-track authority – are being targeted by a new campaign ad – so now House members may think twice before the vote Friday.
MoveOn.org Civic Action launched the ads to say Senators who voted to pass TPA also voted to cut roughly $700 million from Medicare.
“In both 2012 and 2014, Republican congressional candidates ran attack ads against Democrats slamming them for cutting Medicare. Representatives who vote for the Fast Track bill tomorrow do so at their own peril—they are opening themselves up to similar attacks,” said MoveOn.org Campaign Director Justin Krebs in a press release. “And this time, such criticism would be justified.”
“This ad campaign is a warning to Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Krebs.
Their constituents and the 8 million MoveOn members nationwide will not forget this vote, which not only threatens funding for Medicare but advances a secretive trade deal that could undermine protections for workers, consumers and the environment, while giving big corporations even more power. The message is clear: If you care about American workers, consumer protections, and environmental regulations, you must vote against this bill.
The House Rules vote – which is scheduled for Thursday evening – will set out which amendments get a vote and how much time is allotted for debate prior to the TPA vote Friday. The three provisions being taken up are:
(1) an offset for TAA besides Medicare
(2) a vote on TAA itself
(3) a vote on TPA.
If the TAA vote fails, then TPA doesn’t come up – if TPA fails, TAA doesn’t go into effect.