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Sessions Announces Final Cloture Vote Expected in Trade Authorization will be Today

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In 2010, Democrats held commanding majorities in both Houses of Congress.  Beginning with that election in November 2010 the GOP railed against the Presidency of Barack H. Obama (D).

Republican candidates for Congress denounced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as “Obamacare” and vowed to repeal the unpopular legislation.  Time and time again GOP candidates railed against the government and the President himself seeking too much power.  The public largely agreed: control of the House of Representatives was given to Republicans in 2010 and the once filibuster proof Democratic majority in the Senate was severely weakened.  In 2014 Republicans were given control of the U.S. Senate as well.  None of this has led to a balanced budget, the repeal of Obamacare, more border security, or any rollback in Presidential power.    The President’s massive immigration amnesty program has been stymied; but that was due to the states suing and the federal courts shutting the program down; not because of any bold action by the U.S. Congress.

With only eighteen months remaining in the much criticized Obama presidency most analysts would expect that the Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress would be doing everything possible to prevent the President from getting anything substantial done during this “lame duck” phase of his presidency so that any major legislation will wait for the next (perhaps Republican) President to decide. Actually, the Republicans are using their majorities to do just the opposite.

Today, the Republican controlled U.S. Senate is poised to make a final vote on cloture to shut down debate to give the “lame duck” President powers to expedite passage of vast new trade agreements.  Alabama’s two U.S. Senators are among just a handful of GOP Senators allied with the majority of Democrats who believe that the three mammoth trade deals being negotiated by the President go too far in surrendering American sovereignty.

Senator Jeff Sessions said in a statement late on Monday, “For too long the United States has entered into trade deals on the promise of economic bounty, only to see workers impoverished, industries disappear, and manufacturing jobs decline.”

Sen. Sessions and most of the Democrats are attempting to filibuster giving President Obama fast track authority to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other international trade agreements negotiated and passed in the waning days of the Obama Presidency.  It is very ironic that this is power the Democratic controlled majority in the Senate were reluctant to give even though they supported most of his agenda.

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Conservative pundits across the country have spoken out against passage of TPA, TAA, TPP, or what some are calling “Obama-trade” and there is little GOP grassroots support for the trade agreements.  However large corporations who operate across borders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce do support passing these trade agreements before the next President gets in office and has a chance to add his or her stamp to the final agreement.  A bipartisan group of Senators led by the GOP leadership are poised to give those corporations what they want today.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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