NASCAR? Fasten your belts for the real 'fast track'...

It's only reasonable to suppose that the Dem-led 110th will only be able to enact laws with bipartisan support. And very few (stem cell, perhaps) will generate the level of support necessary to override a veto.

When it comes to must pass bills, the Dems could demur - at the risk of shut down the government accusations. There's work to be done on the content of apps bills, but probably nothing spectacular.

But - what about fast track?

The current fast track authority applies only to agreements entered into before July 1 2007. New legislation must pass if fast track is to be available for later agreements.

And what is the Dem majorities' policy on fast track?

On the one hand, there's probably (polling?) a huge populist boost to be had from refusing renewal - not to mention the partisan ya-yas from sticking it to the man.

There are the constituencies - particularly labor - that may view fast track as a litmus test.

On the other hand, some corporate moneybags (current and prospective) may not be overjoyed to see what might be caricatured as the José Bové side of the party being indulged.

As an ICTSD piece from a couple of weeks ago suggests, fast track is not an all or nothing decision.

In particular, it suggests that, even if the Dems can reach agreement among themselves on not renewing fast track generally, they may wish to offer one-off bill to cover the WTO Doha Round.

And that the Dems may support a general fast track authority if labor and environmental conditions are contained in it.

The piece points out that there's no mention in the long New Direction of the word trade.

That, of course, does not mean that the Dem Congressional leadership do not right now have a plan to deal with the issue. And, indeed, let's hope they do.

Update [2006-11-30 19:40:20 by skeptic06]:

The Hillyesterday wrote up a pow-wow between Pelosi aides and unions and interest groups to discuss advancing the 100 Hours agenda:

Bill Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO...said that unions would [] press for Congress to allow Bush less freedom to negotiate trade agreements, noting that Bush’s so-called fast-track trade negotiating authority expires in June.

“They need to set negotiating objectives that are enforceable,” he said of Congress.

Looks time like a fairly modest opening bid from the AFL-CIO. What say CtW, I wonder? (The SEIU was quoted in the piece, but not on trade issues.)

Tags: AFL-CIO, Fast Track Renewal, trade, WTO Doha Round (all tags)


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