United MEC Government Affairs Committee Update

Date: June 15, 2015
Type: Report

Last Friday, June 12, 2015, AFA celebrated a major victory when a package of votes on trade failed to pass in the U.S.  House of Representatives. We should all be proud of our extraordinary work which put the brakes on Fast Track despite intense lobbying by corporate special interests.  Though we are pleased with Friday’s win we have not won the war.  The White House, Republican Leadership and multinational corporate lobbyists have vowed not to let up the pressure, so it is critical that we keep up our pressure and our calls to our members of Congress. 

So what exactly happened on Friday?  

The Republican House leadership knew they needed to match the Senate legislation exactly in order to make Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track) law.  In the Senate, a single vote was cast for the trade package that included both Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).  The Senate vote passed 62-37.  The House decided to separate the trade package into several votes. 

The first vote to be scheduled was a vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) where Republicans who opposed TAA could vote NO and rely on Democrats to pass it.  Then a vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) would follow, where Republican members could vote yes and overwhelm Democratic opposition.  A third vote would recombine the two parts to make it look exactly like the Senate bill.     

Unfortunately for the Republican Leadership, their plan backfired.   The first vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) failed by 302-126.  The vote on Fast Track (TPA) passed 219-211 but both parts needed to pass for the “package” to pass.  We thwarted Fast Track….. for now. 

After these votes, Speaker Boehner quickly called for reconsideration of the vote which normally takes place within two legislative days, but Speaker Boehner may find ways to extend that time frame.  We   should prepare for a vote tonight or Tuesday.

It is absolutely critical that we keep up the calls via 888-966-9836 and urge our U.S.  Representative to vote NO on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

Labor’s message remains clear.  It is time for the President and Congress to get serious about protecting jobs, consumer safety and the environment by removing the veil of secrecy around negotiations for the

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Trade must work for everyone not just multinational corporations. 

Thank you again for all of your hard work and let’s keep it up!  

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