President Barack Obama’s trade agenda took another step forward in the Republican-controlled Senate today (May 21), thanks to wheeling and dealing by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his lieutenants, who engaged in a flurry of deal-making activity on the Senate floor. Struggling against the clock, with a jam-packed legislative schedule and a looming, week-long Memorial Day recess, Sen. McConnell put together 62 votes, 2 more than the 60-vote threshold needed to break the filibuster that was holding up the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, also known as Fast Track.
McConnell may bring up the actual TPA bill for a full Senate vote as early as Friday, May 22, or, according to some reports, may even keep the Senate in session next week for a vote, skipping the Memorial recess. Today’s vote once again displayed the odd Republican-Democrat alliance, with the Obama White House and the GOP leadership in Congress uniting to win over Democrat votes and push globalist trade deals favored by Wall Street corporatists and world government advocates.
The one deal that was critical to securing the votes needed for cloture on the filibuster was McConnell’s promise to schedule a vote on renewed funding for the Export-Import Bank, the federal boondoggle that subsidizes loans to major corporations and funds projects in communist and socialist nations. Authorization for the Ex-Im Bank is scheduled to expire on June 30, and Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both from Washington State, as well as Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) emphatically demanded a pledge to bring up an Ex-Im vote as the price for their cloture votes.
The other Democrats who voted to end debate were Sens. Tom Carper (Del.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Chris Coons (Del.), Mark Warner (Va.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.
Five Republicans voted against ending debate: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Rand Paul (Ky.).