Friday, June 12, 2015

Looking out for themselves; how few Dems will back president on trade?

DUCKWORTH: A 'no' for Obama policy
It may turn out to be ugly on Friday for President Barack Obama when the Trade Promotion Authority measure comes up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

Many Democrats are making it clear they’re not backing the president on this measure. And while it is the kind of business-oriented measure that Republicans usually like to back, I’d wonder how many of the GOP-leaning House members will let their personal political distaste for Obama guide their votes.

WILL ANYBODY BE willing to back Obama on the measure that alters the amount of oversight that Congress would have over foreign trade agreements. Supposedly, less oversight will boost business interests overseas.

Organized labor, however, is concerned that less oversight will let those business interests run amok over the concerns of working people.

Since many of the Democratic caucus members in Congress give lip service to the idea of backing “working people” and rely on those labor union political action committees for their financial support come Election Day, it shouldn’t be a shock that many are saying they’ll vote “no.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who’s trying to bolster her image so she becomes the front-runner in the 2016 campaign for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, issued a statement Thursday saying she’s voting against Obama on this issue.

“TRADE AGREEMENTS NEED tough, enforceable rules,” she said. “Right now, Congress is failing to demand standards to hold other countries accountable.

“That’s especially true for currency manipulation,” said Duckworth.

KIRK: He votes 'aye,' she votes 'no'
She’s not alone. The Washington Post had a field day on Thursday with a story pointing out the fact that the congressmen from Chicago can’t stand the idea either. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., seems to be the only local congressman willing to consider voting for the idea, according to a commentary he wrote for the Chicago Tribune.

Even that is more motivated by the fear of being the lone vote that causes an Obama desire to fail passage, although he wrote in the Tribune that the president should have this great authority to set trade policy like past presidents have had.

BUT THOSE OFFICIALS who want to garner future political support for themselves don’t seem as concerned.

Duckworth’s opposition to the idea seems predictable, since in her statement she makes a point of saying that Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., voted for the idea when it came up for consideration last month by the Senate.

OBAMA: Will anybody back him?
I’m sure Duckworth thinks anything that makes her different from the man she’s challenging in next year’s election cycle is a plus for her.

The idea did pass in the Senate, but mostly with Republican votes. For the record, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., voted “no” for the idea, but told the Washington Post that he did so largely because he felt the measure had enough votes to pass without his support.

ALTHOUGH I HAVE always sensed the House of Representatives is more capable of playing the partisan political game on Capitol Hill. I’m wondering how close we’ll come to seeing the equivalent of that measure in the Illinois House that failed without anybody voting “aye” for it.

They probably won’t want Obama to be able to take credit for an idea they’d rather have a future Republican president have as part of his legacy.

So I’m curious about Duckworth’s statement, particularly because she set up her mass e-mail message to not only make it easy for recipients to send messages to other Democrats telling them to vote “no,” while also making financial contributions to her campaign.

Raising those bucks that allow her to run credibly against Andrea Zopp and any other Democrat who talks of running for the Senate in ’16 may be her primary purpose – and for other Democrats who oppose Obama – in voting the way they do.


No comments: