Vietnam trade bill: Dem battle-lines on trade emerge

The Vietnam trade bill (earlier piece) is a skirmish before the upcoming battle for fast track renewal (a key issue for 2007 in Congress - earlier piece).

Sirota is fuming at Brer Baucus, who is a leader of the free trade party within the Dems - plus being Finance Committee chairman in the 110th.

The earlier vote in the House on the Vietnam bill (Dems split 90-94 against) suggests that both Baucus and the forces of protection have their work cut out to united the Congressional party.

(The terms in italics can't be taken literally, of course. The free-traders love pro-US protection and (my suspicion) the protectionists wouldn't exactly want to return to Smoot-Hawley.)

Important to note that the Vietnam bill is wrapped up in an omnibus bill,

a multifaceted, 500-page bill that included the tax breaks, myriad trade measures including the Vietnam bill, and various health measures, among them promoting greater access to health care in rural areas and blocking a planned Medicare cut in payments to physicians, at a cost of $10 billion for a year.

The bill also encompasses a stalled plan to open more than 8 million acres along the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling and expand an abandoned coal mine reclamation program, estimated to cost up to $5 billion over 10 years..

Hey - abandoned coal mine reclamation program - that wouldn't be a Byrd special, by any chance?

Those tax breaks are apparently the same tax extenders that were lumped in with estate tax 'reform' and the minimum wage hike in the abortive HR 5970.

Another fine legislative mess: God knows what tricky bits of corporate welfare are stuffed in that monstrosity!

Bet you some company's managed to write its own page of the tax code somewhere in there...

Tags: Continental Shelf, Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act, Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act, HR 4761, HR 5602, HR 5970, Lease Area 181, Oil Exploration, Omnibus Bill, S 2253, S 3495, S 3711, Vietnam Trade Bill, Zoe Lofgren (all tags)



Re: Vietnam trade bill: Dem battle-lines on trade

The measure was only not adopted because under the procedure it was being proposed (suspended debate) it needed a supermajority to pass, in which it only  achieved a majority. The bill, which 90 Democrats voted in favor of and 94 against, was endorsed by Charles Rangel, and voted in favor of by Nancy Pelosi, Howard Berman, Michael Capuano, Jim Clyburn, Diana DeGette, John Dingell, Barney Frank, Rush Holt, Sander Levin, Jim McDermott, James McGovern, George Miller, Robert Wexler and Henry Waxman among others.

"(The terms in italics can't be taken literally, of course. The free-traders love pro-US protection"

What do you mean by that?

"(my suspicion) the protectionists wouldn't exactly want to return to Smoot-Hawley.)"

No, they don't want to provoke a trade war, but large enough protectionist barriers so as to insulate them from foreign competition.

by DRR7979 2006-12-07 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Vietnam trade bill: Dem battle-lines on trade

My point about the vote on HR 5602 was that it showed Dems split down the middle.

But - you're right, there was a clear majority in favor of the bill - because most GOP supported it.

The problem comes in the 110th, when the Dems have the considerable means of any majority (House majority, at least) to control the agenda.

A natural goal would be for the Dem House leadership to ensure progress was only made on legislation supported by a majority of the majority.

If the party is split 50-50, the question arises, which side does the leadership take?

As you point out, Dem supporters of HR 5602 included many big names. (Obey, Thompson (MS) and Reyes voted against - that I recognized as honchos-in-waiting, not as impressive a list, certainly.)

Big picture: fast track renewal is going to be huge - and inescapable - in 2007. And the Vietnam bill clearly shows that it's a potentially divisive issue: particularly, because fast track provides a rallying point for labor unions to join with Western-style populists (of the Tester stripe) in opposing the status quo element (most of the Dem leadership) in a struggle for the direction of party policy in the runup to the 08 campaign.

(My point on how the two camps on the trade issue should be described was that the easiest (free-trader v protectionist) was a considerable oversimplification, to put it mildly.

Neither free trade as practiced by the UK in second half of the 19th century nor 30s-style beggar-my-neighbour protectionism are widely supported today, I suspect.)

by skeptic06 2006-12-07 12:44PM | 0 recs


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