Newsflash:
Elizabeth Warren Trans Pacific Partnership Hated on the Left, the TPP Draws Conservative Foes
Sunday, 02 February 2014 16:46

Hated on the Left, the TPP Draws Conservative Foes

Written by  Cole Strangler | In These Times

“The President said, if you like your health insurance, you can keep it,” says Curtis Ellis of the American Jobs Alliance, a small conservative group based in Virginia that opposes the outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas. “Now essentially, with Obamatrade, he’s saying, if you like your job, you can keep it.”

If “Obamatrade” catches on as a right-wing rallying cry against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a trade agreement covering the Pacific Rim economies of Australia, Japan, Malaysia, among others—it will probably have something to do with a sparsely attended press conference on Tuesday in the House Science Committee hearing room. That’s where the American Jobs Alliance and the United States Business and Industry Council—pro-business groups wary of trade’s impact on America’s national interests—joined with Tea Party Nation and the socially conservative Eagle Forum to rail against the TPP and President Obama’s support for “fast-tracking” the measure. The legislative procedure would prevent Congress from amending the agreement once it’s completed by international negotiators. Without fast-track, Congress is considered unlikely to approve the deal in its current form.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came out against the existing fast-track bill, but that doesn’t quite mean it’s dead. A “yes” vote in the House could put enough pressure on the Senate to take action or legislators could choose to craft a gentler version of the bill that appeals to Reid—one that allows more time for debate, for example.

Most opposition to the TPP has come from the organized Left, which worries that “NAFTA on steroids” will undermine key environmental and health protections and hasten the flight of good-paying jobs abroad. Earlier this week, a coalition of more than 550 different labor unions, environmental groups and consumer advocacy organizations condemned fast-track in a letter to Congress. That’s in addition to Reid and the 151 House Democrats who came out against the procedure in November. By contrast, only 23 House Republicans have done so.

But the Obamatraders hope to light a fire under Congressional Republicans. Tuesday’s proceedings were transmitted live on a conference call to several Tea Party groups and local affiliates of the 9/12 Project—an organization founded by Glenn Beck and named for the moment of patriotic unity that followed September 11, 2001.

From the beginning of the conference, it was clear the coalition is targeting voters and elected officials whose politics vary substantially from its temporary allies on the Left. “Before we get started this afternoon, I thought it might be appropriate that we take a moment of silence to honor a friend that has passed away,” Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips told the audience.

For a fleeting moment, I think he is about to pay homage to Pete Seeger, the iconic communist folk artist who passed away earlier in the day. But then Phillips finishes the sentence.

“Global warming,” he says, to laughter.   

Most of the TPP critiques were on constitutional grounds: Speakers condemned how fast-track delegates trade negotiating authority to the executive branch and, to a lesser extent, how TPP’s extreme investor protections chip away at American sovereignty by allowing corporations to sue governments in third-party courts. Mixed in with this criticism, though, was a healthy dose of anti-Obama rancor.

“He has lied to the American people time and time again—Benghazi, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, the list goes on,” Philips said. “We can’t trust Barack Obama to negotiate a good deal or be truthful to the American people about it.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), the only congressman in attendance, stressed that he’s not against free trade in theory. Nor is he actually opposed to the TPP, as he clarified when asked by In These Times. Broun, in fact, has voted for four separate FTAs with Colombia, Panama, Peru and South Korea.      

“As an original intent constitutionalist, I believe very firmly in that idea of free and open trade,” Broun said. “But fast-track authority is a problem, particularly with this President. We’ve seen him over and over again make promises … someone who has not been truthful certainly should not have this fast-track authority.”

Glyn Wright, executive director of the Eagle Forum, the organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly and best known for fighting the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, shared those concerns. But her reservations about the TPP have more to do with her Christian faith than her lack of faith in Obama.

“Some of the countries in this partnership are notorious for their prosecution of Christians,” Wright said. “In Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, Christians and clergy are harassed at every turn, spies attend almost every Christian gathering, and Brunei’s constitution even states that the religion of Brunei shall be the Muslim religion—which means that Islamic sharia law supersedes all other law. … Why are we looking to merge our economies with countries that represent the absolute antithesis of the American way?”

Taking another tack, Ellis of the American Jobs Alliance, who has an aversion to multinational corporations that can come off as vaguely anti-capitalist at times, argued that this isn’t even about “free trade.” 

“This is essentially protected markets granting monopoly power to certain large corporations—Mousewitz, Disney—so that Mickey Mouse will live forever,” Ellis tells In These Times, in a reference to the TPP’s intellectual property chapter. “It’s managed trade to grant privileges to the corporatist insiders who have lobbyists, who are sitting at the negotiating table and have access.”

Within the larger scope of the conservative movement, or of business lobbyist circles, the coalition represents a small minority with limited political power. Despite its portentous title, the U.S. Business and Industry Council is no Chamber of Commerce—it represents companies committed to the “national interest,” not the agenda of large multinationals intent on maximizing global profits. The Eagle Forum, a couple of decades removed from its heyday, is no Heritage Foundation. The latter, which maintains considerable sway over House Republicans, has praised the TPP and other free trade agreements. (Heritage did not respond to a request for comment on this story.)

TPP opponents, though, will take support from wherever they can get it. Basic arithmetic dictates that blocking fast-track requires a substantial chunk of Republican votes in the House.    

“Opposition to the TPP is growing daily, as more people are learning about its disastrous consequences,” says Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), who has helped lead Democratic opposition to the deal. “Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative, it’s clear that the TPP is [a] sell-out to foreign corporations that will gut our manufacturing base, and make our trade deficits soar.”

Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who has rallied fellow first-term Democrats against the deal, says the space of convergence doesn’t even have to be as broad as that.

“While Democrats and Republicans may approach trade issues from different perspectives, we should all be opposed to abdicating our Constitutional power to oversee foreign trade deals,” he says.

Link to original article from In These Times

Read 6104 times

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Warren Campaign

  • Will new senators push Democrats to the left?
    Will new senators push Democrats to the left?

    When Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the 2013 class of liberal senators start work this month, they'll have to do more than figure out the byzantine ways of getting things done in Washington.

    They'll also have to decide how seriously to engage a progressive movement that sees their assent a historic opportunity to shift the Democratic Party to the left.

    Written on Saturday, 05 January 2013 19:11 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Wins Senate Banking Committee Seat: Sources
    Elizabeth Warren Wins Senate Banking Committee Seat: Sources

    WASHINGTON -- Nearly two years after Wall Street waged a successful campaign to keep consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the incoming senator will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to four sources familiar with the situation. 

    Written on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 19:22 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Redefines "Balanced Approach"
    Elizabeth Warren Redefines "Balanced Approach"

    Politico recently declared, "The Senate is about to become a liberal lion’s den." 

    In 2012, groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn.org, CREDO Action, and Democracy for America worked hard to build progressive power in Congress. This week's iconic photo of Senators-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) walking together down the corridors of power is symbolic of the rising progressive tide. 

    Written on Sunday, 18 November 2012 14:20 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Wins the "Which Side Are You On?" Debate
    Elizabeth Warren Wins the "Which Side Are You On?" Debate

    An overbearing and at times ridiculously aggressive Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown came across as a desperate man Thursday night, as he attempted to gain the upper hand in the first debateof this year's most closely-watched U.S. Senate race and, by extension, in a reelection contest that seems to be slipping away from him.

    Written on Sunday, 23 September 2012 16:27 Read more...
  • Mayor Menino to endorse Elizabeth Warren in Senate race at Roslindale Square rally on Friday
    Mayor Menino to endorse Elizabeth Warren in Senate race at Roslindale Square rally on Friday

    Mayor Thomas M. Menino is expected to endorse Democrat Elizabeth Warren on Friday in her bid to unseat Republican US Senator Scott Brown, according to two people with knowledge of the plan.

    Written on Thursday, 20 September 2012 19:47 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren's DNC Speech: "Corporations Are Not People"
    Elizabeth Warren's DNC Speech: "Corporations Are Not People"

    Bill Clinton may have stolen the show at the DNC last night with his 45-minute, half-ad-libbed barn-burner of a speech, but there were a few other noteworthy speakers as well. After dragging for an hour or two, the night's program picked up when Massachusetts Senate candidate, CFPB creator, and economic realtalker extraordinaire Elizabeth Warren took the stage.

    Written on Thursday, 06 September 2012 18:54 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren: Yes She Can?
    Elizabeth Warren: Yes She Can?

    It was a grim, sleety day in Chicopee, a gritty postindustrial town in western Massachusetts, where paint flakes off worn-out bridges and boarded-up factories. At a community relations luncheon, kind security guards were opening back doors and holding out umbrellas for the few willing to brave the freezing slush.

    Written on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 04:54 Read more...
  • Jonathan Klate: A candidate's connection
    Jonathan Klate: A candidate's connection

    Retired Amherst gentleman John Kick is not known as a political activist. In the Springfield union hall where he ventured last October to hear Democratic senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren, he might have seemed a world-weary citizen with vague curiosity about the professor turned politician.

    But John's sorrowful demeanor and disconsolate eyes betrayed a woefully wounded heart. His son, Gabe, took his own life just a month earlier, at the age of 28. John keeps moving, somehow, in the dreadful private agony understood only by parents who persist in such an aftermath.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 17:09 Read more...
  • The Ascendance of Elizabeth Warren
    The Ascendance of Elizabeth Warren

    If you’re reading this, you probably already know how you feel about Elizabeth Warren. Warren is currently running for Senate in Massachusetts, in the hopes of knocking out Republican incumbent Scott Brown. Very few first-time candidates are so well-known, or so passionately beloved.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • NOW PAC Endorses Elizabeth Warren
    NOW PAC Endorses Elizabeth Warren

    NOW/PAC is thrilled to announce its endorsement of Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren for the U. S. Senate from the state of Massachusetts. Warren is the most prominent of the three Democrats vying to run against incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the general election. Recent polls show Warren neck and neck with Brown.

    Written on Monday, 05 March 2012 19:48 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Says Washington Must Act Now To Help Stem The Tide Of Foreclosure
    Elizabeth Warren Says Washington Must Act Now To Help Stem The Tide Of Foreclosure

    Backs MA Congressmen, Attorney General Coakley Calling on Federal Housing Finance Agency to Take Action To Prevent Unnecessary Foreclosures

    BOSTON – It is past time for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to step up and help prevent unnecessary foreclosures in Massachusetts, said Consumer Advocate Elizabeth Warren, reinforcing calls from members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

    Written on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 07:54 Read more...
  • U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern this week endorsed Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren for the United States Senate.

    U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern this week endorsed Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren for the United States Senate.

    Written on Friday, 27 January 2012 20:35 Read more...
  • The Woman Who Knew Too Much
    The Woman Who Knew Too Much

    Millions of Americans hoped President Obama would nominate Elizabeth Warren to head the consumer financial watchdog agency she had created. Instead, she was pushed aside. As Warren kicks off her run for Scott Brown’s Senate seat in Massachusetts, Suzanna Andrews charts the Harvard professor’s emergence as a champion of the beleaguered middle class, and her fight against a powerful alliance of bankers, lobbyists, and politicians.

    Written on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 00:00 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren's Appeal
    Elizabeth Warren's Appeal

    For a few years now, politicians straining against all of the antigovernment demagogy have been searching for a way to energize public interest and remind voters of the essential government services and protections they rely on and all too often take for granted.

    Written on Sunday, 16 October 2011 00:00 Read more...
  • Berkshire Democrats Want Elizabeth to Run, Run, Run
    Berkshire Democrats Want Elizabeth to Run, Run, Run

    PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  More than a few local Democrats would be ecstatic if Elizabeth Warren decides to run against Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate. Warren is kicking around the idea of running and stopped in Pittsfield on Friday to meet with party members to gauge their support as part of a listening tour across the state.

    Written on Friday, 19 August 2011 00:00 Read more...

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Elizabeth Warren

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of