After Declaring Victory, House Democrats Back Down, Will Vote for Trade

Written by SK Ashby

As I said last night, House Democrats have one more chance to pass Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), an aid program for displaced workers, and it appears they will use the opportunity a little over a week after they led a vote against it.

House Democrats voted against TAA under the impression that it would effectively kill Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and some anti-trade activists even declared victory after the Adjustment Assistance program was voted down, but as you know both the House and Senate proceeded to pass TPA.

A little over a week after leading House Democrats to oppose it, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said today that she will vote for the assistance program according to the Associated Press.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California told colleagues that she would vote for trade adjustment assistance. Pelosi said it's time to start scrutinizing global trade agreements that Congress eventually will have to decide.

Other Democrats said they expect heavy support for the retraining program.

I can't think of a nice way to say this: everyone involved in this temporary democratic revolt looks stupid.

Democratic opposition to Trade Adjustment Assistance, a program that Democrats usually support, did not stop Trade Promotion Authority from proceeding through Congress. House Democrats should have recognized that their protest would not prevent it from proceeding before voting against the program they support and which House Republicans couldn't give less of a shit about.

A vote for the assistance program is a vote to help the very people that Democrats express concerns for -- workers who lose their job because of overseas trade -- but rather than vote for the program they buckled under the weight of ridiculous rhetoric an innuendo that, at times, implied President Obama himself is a wolf in sheep's clothing and a liar in league with corporations who do not have the best interests of American workers at heart.

That rhetoric ultimately served no one. It didn't serve House Democrats who were pressured into voting against a program they support, and it certainly didn't serve senior union leadership who whipped their constituents into a frenzy with a series of false and misleading statements.

"It's NAFTA 2.0" they said, ignoring the fact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated in an effort to undo and erase the worst parts of NAFTA.

A vote against Trade Adjustment Assistance, and by extension Trade Adjustment Authority and the eventual partnership deal, may as well be a vote to preserve NAFTA; the 20-year-old trade agreement loathed by many. The phrase 'cutting off your nose to spite your face' has never been more apt.

With all of this said, this is not the end. Representatives from the labor community and overzealous congressmen and women would have you believe that this is the beginning of the end times, but we're not quite there.

Once the "secret" trade deal has been finalized, it will be released to the public and debated for months before Congress ultimately approves or rejects it.

While some pundits and politicians would have you believe otherwise, this was always the plan. Their opportunistic rabble-rousing has changed virtually nothing.

Well, almost nothing. It did make more than a few people look like idiots.