A quick guide to the what's happening in the trade alphabet soup [Updated]

The abbreviations are flying fast and furious, and it can be hard to keep up. Here’s a guide to where we’re at.

The House just had two key votes. First, there was a vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a big old subsidy program for unions. Unions love it, but [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ] pulled support for it as a ploy.


So after TAA (union subsidy) failed, the House voted on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, more commonly known as Fast Track). Without TAA (union subsidy) included, most Republicans were on board, and most Democrats were opposed. Since Republican have the majority, TPA (Fast Track) succeeded.

However, TPA (Fast Track) must also be passed by the Senate in order to take effect. It seems likely that Senate Democrats will oppose TPA (Fast Track) because the TAA (union subsidy) package was not included. Without enough Democrat votes, TPA (Fast Track) will not be able to get an up or down vote.

Without TPA (Fast Track), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP, Trade Deal) negotiations will be stalled, because other countries understand the US political system enough to know that US Senators are an ornery bunch. Other countries don’t want to make a final commitment unless they know that commitment will get an up or down vote in the Senate, and that won’t happen without TPA (fast track).

So in the end, the Democrats are abandoning giving the President TPA (fast track), denying him a signature win in the form of concluding TPP (trade deal), all because it’s more important to them to get TAA (union subsidy).


Clear as mud, right?

Updated: It’s been pointed out to me that it is possible that TAA (union subsidy) will get added to TPA (fast track) in a conference committee bill. If [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] let that happen, then that’ll snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


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