Senators: Vote NO on TPA & EU-style Pacific Union

Written by  Friday, 19 June 2015 00:00
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

On June 24 the Senate voted 60-38 on final passage of TPA and sent it to the president's desk.

Update, June 24: The Senate voted 60-38 on final passage of TPA today (only a simple majority needed for passage) and sent it on to the president's desk.

Update, June 23: The Senate voted 60-37 to invoke cloture on TPA today. Sixty yes votes were required and 60 were cast. The Senate will go on to pass TPA today or tomorrow and send it to the President for his signature. The TPA fight in Congress is over. Next, we must convince Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) when it is presented to Congress later this year.

Here's a recap of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) votes in the House and Senate.

On May 22 the Senate passed a TPA bill and a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill as a package and sent it to the House. On June 12, the House voted on TPA and TAA separately with the understanding that both TPA and TAA must be passed by the House to match the Senate action on the TPA/TAA package. Although the House passed the TPA bill by 219-211, it rejected the TAA bill by 126-302. This lopsided vote against the TAA bill resulted from most Democrats voting against the bill as a way to temporarily stop the approval of TPA.

Since the House failed to pass both the TPA and TAA portions of the original Senate package, GOP leadership tried a new approach involving passing a standalone TPA bill (attached to an unrelated bill, H.R. 2146) on June 18 by 218-208 and sending it to the Senate for a vote. The Senate will have a cloture vote on the TPA bill on Tuesday, June 23.

Although the Senate passed its TPA/TAA package by 62-37 on May 22, it is still possible to defeat TPA in the upcoming Senate cloture vote on the standalone TPA bill by convincing a few senators to change their vote. It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture and prevent a filibuster, so as few as three senators could stop passage of TPA by changing their minds and allowing a filibuster to prevent a vote on TPA. Click here to see how your senators voted on TPA on May 22. You should phone your senators no matter how they voted to help the ones who voted against TPA to stay the course, and to help convince those who voted for TPA to switch their vote. See "Please take the following actions" below for action requests.

Here's the new information from Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has read the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, that should change some minds regarding the upcoming TPA vote in the Senate:

It is essential that there be no misunderstanding: fast-track [TPA] preapproves the formation of not only the unprecedentedly large Trans-Pacific Partnership, but an unlimited number of such agreements over the next six years. Those pacts include three of the most ambitious ever contemplated. After TPP comes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, followed by the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), seeking as one [of] its goals labor mobility among more than 50 nations. Together, these three international compacts encompass three-fourths of the world's GDP. Including the nations whose membership is being courted for after enactment, the countries involved would encompass nearly 90 percent of global GDP. Yet, through fast-track, Congress will have authorized the President to ink these deals before a page of them has been made public. Then, the Executive sends Congress "implementing" legislation to change U.S. law-legislation which cannot be amended, cannot be filibustered, and will not be subjected to the Constitutional requirement for a two-thirds treaty vote....

This nation has never seen an agreement that compares to the TPP, which forms a new Pacific Union. This is far more than a trade agreement, but creates a self-governing and self-perpetuating Commission with extraordinary implications for American workers and American sovereignty.

Such a historic international regulatory Commission should never be fast-tracked, and should never be put on a path to passage until every word has been publicly scrutinized, every question answered, and every last power understood by Congress and the American people." (Emphasis added.)

Please take the following actions:

  • Phone both your senators on Monday, June 22, and tell them to vote NO on the cloture vote for TPA (planned for Tuesday, June 23), and if cloture is invoked (filibuster prevented), vote NO on the TPA bill itself. All senators' offices can be reached by calling 202-224-3121.
  • Tell them that you agree with Senator Sessions that TPA must be defeated because TPA would make it easier for the TPP, TTIP, and TISA agreements to be approved that would lead to a Pacific Union, an Atlantic Union, and increased labor mobility between the United States and 50 or so other nations, respectively.
  • Tell them any other talking points against TPA that you find relevant in Sessions' statement above.
  • Please send your senators an editable, prewritten email with reasons that they should vote NO on TPA.

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