After the resounding slap in the face received from Democratic senators, Barack Obama has put back on track the “fast track”, considered the last two top priorities enaliste on the economic agenda of the White House to end the President’s mandate viz trade agreements with Asia and Europe. In fact a compromise had been reached which was to be put to the vote today in the Senate, the measure Tuesday, had had a blockage by the Democrats.
The compromise was reached when the latter had gained consensus on two additional trade measures, one to contrast manipulations enacted on the currency market by trade partners – a measure directed against China and which has little chance of becoming law, partly because Obama would veto it – and a second for growth and development in Africa. But the breakthrough was feasible primarily at political level through the direct involvement of Obama.
The President summoned the White House, some of the 14 Democratic Senators that the Committee had voted in favour of, granting the fast track to give the US negotiators the go-ahead, but who Tuesday, had then voted together with the party, excepting one, against the measure. Obama, who had had the names of the Senators he met, disclosed, was very explicit and hard with them: “you have to keep it going as long as the measure passes, I need it, the country needs it, you have to find a way to overcome this obstacle,” he said as reported by Senator Bill Nelson. According to the reconstruction, Obama was “irritated” when senators tried to explain that the vow of ‘filibuster’ practised by Democrats against their predecessors, was the result of a standoff with the Republican majority, which in this case supports the White House political-line.
In fact, there is a strong resistance within the Democratic Party, especially in the liberal wing, who regard Senator Elizabeth Warren a sort of leader, against the trade agreement with Asia Pacific, considered to be a risk for American jobs. Besides Warren, former Economic Adviser to Obama and possible candidate for the Democratic primaries, contests the fact that the senators have not been allowed to read the deal so far before having to vote for ‘fast track.’
Unrenewed since 2007, the ‘fast track ‘ authority would permit the Administration to negotiate the details of both the Trans Pacific Partnership (Tpp), with 11 countries in Asia Pacific, which is in its final stages of Transatlantic Trade and InvestmentPartnership (Ttip) with the EU, then the overall agreement presented to Congress which can only vote in favour or against without amendments.