In a major change of position, Nancy Pelosi is now strongly against the current Fast Track trade bill, whose passage is a necessary precondition for passing TPP, the pro-corporate, anti-national sovereignty Trans-Pacific Partnership (“NAFTA on steroids” as some have dubbed it).
To learn what’s so wrong about TPP, click the link above, or let Bill Moyers explain it for you here.
The Fast Track bill, called “Camp-Baucus” after its sponsors, House Republican Dave Camp and Senate Democrat Max Baucus, is languishing in the House because Speaker Boehner can’t count on enough Yes votes to bring it to the floor. There are no Democratic co-sponsors in the House, at least 150 Democrats who have signed a letter opposed to Fast Track, and somewhere between 20 and 30 Republicans who are also opposed. And many of the rest are deliberately quiet on it.
But so far, no Democratic leader — Pelosi, Hoyer, Becerra, etc. — has come out against Fast Track or TPP, which Obama strongly supports. Pelosi’s statements represent a considerable crack in leadership silence.
From Greg Sargent at the Wash Post (my paragraphing everywhere):
Obama’s free trade push runs into more trouble
Progressives and liberal lawmakers who are working hard to block the massive free trade deal being negotiated by the Obama administration have just gotten a big boost from someone they’d been aggressively courting: Nancy Pelosi.
In an event with labor officials on Capitol Hill today, Pelosi delivered her strongest statement yet of opposition to the bill that would grant the Fast Track Authority sought by the administration to negotiate a sweeping free trade deal with a dozen Pacific countries. The bill — co-sponsored by Dem Senator Max Baucus and GOP Rep. Dave Camp — is strongly opposed by labor, liberal groups and many Congressional Dems.
“No on Fast Track — Camp-Baucus — out of the question,” Pelosi said, according to a transcript of her remarks forwarded to me by her office. She also told assembled steelworkers: “We cannot support Camp-Baucus. We cannot support Camp-Baucus.” This marks a significant hardening of Pelosi’s opposition to the Fast Track Authority bill.
Sargent notes that Pelosi’s objections, while considerable, aren’t unaddressable. It’s clear that simple tweaks to Camp-Baucus won’t satisfy her, but she seems still open to a larger rewrite:
It doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility that she could support some version of Fast Track at some point, if its terms are overhauled to deal with her concerns about job loss from currency manipulation, and to create much more transparency around negotiations and give Dems much more input into them.
But it creates a hurdle to the free trade measure, because it will be difficult to meet the conditions for supporting Fast Track that Pelosi is now laying down.
So while this is movement, it’s not over.
What you can do
You can help, a lot in fact. Call Nancy Pelosi’s office:
DC office: (202) 225-4965
SF district office: (415) 556-4862
and say two things:
1. Thank you, Leader Pelosi, for your strong voice against Fast Track and TPP.
2. Please, don’t let any version of Fast Track reach the floor. TPP is NAFTA on steroids. Just like NAFTA, no trade deal like this will improve the jobs picture.
In other words, say “thanks and stand firm.” Can you make that call? Especially if you’re in her district? My thanks if you do.
To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius