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In what was immediately heralded as a victory for the grassroots, Senate Democrats on Tuesday stymied President Barack Obama's corporate-driven trade agenda by voting to prevent the chamber from taking up Fast Track legislation.
According to news reports, a cloture motion to cut off a filibuster and proceed to debate fell short of the 60 votes necessary to pass. Sen. Tom Carper, of Delaware, was the only Democrat to vote yes.
"While we celebrate today's failed Fast Track vote for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership, the hundreds of thousands of grassroots activists who have united behind Senators Warren, Brown and Sanders to defeat the TPP will not rest until it's dead, buried, and covered with six-inches of concrete," Democracy for America executive director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement released just after the vote. "Today, the army of corporate executives and industry lobbyists who wrote the Trans-Pacific Partnership by and for themselves failed to secure support for the Fast Track legislation they know they need to ram their bad trade deal through Congress."
Whatever the reason, on trade he is much closer to the GOP than he is to the traditional Democratic objections. This fact is reflected in the political support for and the opposition to TPA. Every Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, for example, voted for it, along with two Democrats. Thirteen Democrats voted no.
“The Senate vote today was an important first victory in what will be a long battle.
“A major reason for the decline of the American middle class and the increase in wealth and income inequality in the United State is our trade policies - NAFTA, CAFTA and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. This agreement would follow in the footsteps of those free trade agreements which have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage workers around the world – including workers in Vietnam where the minimum wage is 56-cents an hour.
“Trade agreements should not just work for corporate America, Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry. They have got to benefit the working families of our country.
“We must defeat fast track and develop a new policy on trade. Today was a good step forward, but much more needs to be done.”