Boxer, Blumenthal, Merkley, Enzi, Hatch (UC), Brown

Vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority (H.R. 1314)

Senator Boxer: (5:51 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I think it would pass here overwhelmingly. I have no illusions that will allow us to vote on it. But it simply says if you don't pay a minimum wage of two bucks an hour, you can't be in this partnership. Let me reiterate. The amendment simply says that you can't be in this trade group if you don't pay more than $2 an hour, or at least $2 an hour. Now, let's talk about it. Why is this important? I voted for fast-track for NAFTA. What a mistake that was. President Clinton promised us the world. Republicans and Democrats who were pro trade promised us the world. Do you know what happened? We lost 700,000 jobs, mostly in manufacturing."

 

Senator Blumenthal: (6:04 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I have two amendments, one that would promote greater transparency in great trade agreements, and the second to help ensure that foreign companies cannot use trade agreements to undermine the safety and security of America's food supply. First, on the subject of transparency, nothing is more fundamental than for the American people to know what's in these trade agreements. And despite their significance, despite the far-reaching ramifications and implications that they have for our American economy and indeed our way of life, they're being negotiated in secret. In fact, members of Congress can view them only if they go to secure locations, and staff of members of Congress can see them only if they're accompanied by the members themselves. The real problem is not members of Congress or their staff but the American public, who are kept in the dark."

 

Senator Merkley: (6:16 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I'll simply conclude by saying if I can't get one of my four amendments up to be debated, all substantive, all addressing key components of this agreement, then this is not a robust process and this is not an open process, and I ask the majority leader to keep his vision that he laid out on this floor that this would be an open process and a robust process."

 

Senator Enzi: (6:45 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "The T.P.P. would include the highest standard to date for new innovations. I look forward to advancing T.P.A. and want to give credit to Chairman Hatch and Leader McConnell for the open amendment process they're trying to get on this bill. I'll also mention briefly, I oppose expanding T.A.A. -- another good initial thing -- T.A.A. without a closer look at how it mimics and duplicates federal workforce training programs. As the ranking member of the health, education, labor, and pensions committee, I'm extremely familiar with the existing federal programs that Congress funds to improve workforce training. T.A.A. is redundant and now is not the time to increase spending. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I cannot ignore programs that add new spending. That's why I intend to vote against expanding it and adding to the underlying bill."

 

Senator Hatch: (6:53 PM)

  • Unanimous Consent –
  • The time until 8:00 PM be equally divided.
  • Upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate VOTE on the following amendments to H.R. 1314, the legislative vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill:
  1. Inhofe-Coons #1312, as further modified;
  2. Shaheen #1227;
  3. Warren #1327; and
  4. Brown #1251.
  • No second-degree amendments be in order.
  • The Inhofe amendment be subject to a 60-affirmative vote threshold
  • It be in order to offer the following first-degree amendments during today's session of the Senate: 
  1. Brown-Portman Section 1252;
  2. Hatch-Wyden Section 1385;
  3. Cruz-Grassley Section 1384; and
  4. Menendez Section 1410. 
  • (Senator Brown objects)

 

Senator Brown: (6:56 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "The last time we did fast-track here, this debate went for three weeks. I'm not asking for three weeks. I think that would be a bridge too tar for most of us. But I am asking when 13 years ago there were 50 amendments that were considered, today we've considered six, and there have been 149 filed. So that's 4% of the amendments that were filed. Senator Hatch is - again, his generous offer gets us up not even to 10% of those amendments. So invoking cloture this quickly really does stifle the process. And I think this is too big a deal for that. This fast-track vote tonight -- or this fast-track debate encompasses 40 – It is the largest trade deficit, largest trade agreement in the history of the country, in the history of the world I guess for that matter. Where it's 40% of the world's G.D.P., these 12 T.P.P. countries, the next round also under T.P.A. is another 20% of the world's G.D.P. So that would be 60% of the world's G.D.P. and you don't do cloture within 24 hours and begin to shut down debate."

 

Senator Hatch: (7:00 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I appreciate my colleague and I've tried to accommodate him and intend to always try to accommodate my colleagues. On the other hand, his side has slow walked this thing since last Wednesday. Thursday was a full day we lost, we're going to be here Friday, we didn't do very much yesterday, today nothing, and I think I'm very concerned that we're not moving ahead, we're not doing what we should do. This is an important matter. It's an important bill. I chatted with the president earlier today, and he indicated how important it is to him personally. And what this bill means to our country and how important it is to get it passed and to pass it in a form that the House will accept. Which is what I'm trying to do. So I don't think it's been this side that's slowed this down. Although I don't want to pick on either side. The senators are certainly within their rights to slow walk this all they want to. On the other hand, it's very difficult for me to sit here and having sat here all day and yesterday and would have been Thursday and Friday as well, and Saturday if necessary, it strikes me as interesting that now they want all these amendments when they've had all this time to bring up their amendments and nobody was going to stop them."