by Michael Stumo
Mitch McConnell told the Kentucky Farm Bureau this week that the TPP will not be acted on this year.
This is the Senate Majority Leader’s strongest statement yet against a TPP vote in Lame Duck. And it was not a pandering statement because the American Farm Bureau Federation, a bunch of insurance companies that fund the farmer organization branch, is strongly for the TPP. So I do tend to believe it.
(sidenote: CPA rebutted the Farm Bureau’s fictitious agricultural projections about the TPP here earlier this year)
Given that McConnell is strongly in favor of these agreements that offshore our jobs, our industry and our sovereignty, things could change. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, could change his Big Pharma specific opposition to TPP either because the Obama Administration strikes a side deal on the mind numbing issue of data exclusivity periods for biologics. Or Big Pharma could decide they want TPP even if they don’t get their biologics wish, subsequently lobbying Hatch to drop his opposition. Hatch needs to hold Finance Committee hearings as part of the Fast Track process to move things through.
Back to McConnell, he pretty clearly stated that he wants to the TPP to hang around to be voted on in the next administration.
“It will still be around. It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration,” he said.
My view is that the TPP won’t get a lame duck vote (even though we have to act as if it) and that the “establishment cosmopolitan elite” appointees in any next administration will be working to push TPP through with adjustments that are sold as big changes but are not. (Since the entire trade deal model is flawed, the TPP isn’t fixable.)
Remember that the trade deal with South Korea was largely finalized in 2007 under Bush 43, Pelosi opposed it in 2008 as majority leader, and the thing hung around until Obama/Boehner/McConnell alliance got a favorable vote in 2011.
What we’ll need is to continue debunking the failed trade model, and pushing a balanced trade model, to cause the TPP to get Doha’d. What the heck does that mean?
The World Trade Organizations last gasp multilateral round of negotiations to further expand their sovereignty infringing agenda was the Doha Development Round. They started in 2001 in very nice hotel accommodations in Doha, Qatar. Trade negotiators and corporate lobbyists eating nice food, chatting and negotiating sometimes. The target completion date was 2005. It was never completed but there were always optimistic pronouncements of breakthroughs and more negotiations.
Last November (2015), failure was admitted. Fourteen years after they started.
This is a long slog, but we are building and need to keep building, and need to keep getting wins like punting the TPP on the road to killing it. The holy grail is a plan to balance trade and be strategic about it for the betterment of US workers, industry and the economy.