May 15, 2015

Senate Starts Debate on Trade Promotion Authority Bill (Fast Track)

The U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to start debate on a trade promotion authority bill that President Barack Obama needs to complete the massive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Every Republican voted to advance fast-track except Bill Cassidy (LA) and Dan Sullivan(AK), who both did not vote, while Democrats were split. For a tally of the 65-33 vote, go tohttp://ow.ly/MY4zt.

Sixty votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and open debate. The trade bill will face amendment votes in the Senate next week. The House is expected to take up the bill after Memorial Day.

The vote came after Senate Democrats filibustered the bill on Tuesday, “spurring a furious salvage operation from the president and Senate leaders,” according to Roll Call. Earlier in the week, the Alliance had sent a letter to every U.S. House member and Senator opposing the bill. The letters noted that TPP could cause seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs.

“There is also other pending legislation that would take $700 million from Medicare to pay for Trade Adjustment Assistance,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “This means that Medicare could be cut in order to pay for the adverse conditions workers face as a result of TPP. We cannot allow Medicare to be used as a piggy bank every time the government needs funding for other purposes.”

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