Not entirely unsurprisingly, the Senate failed to reach cloture on Tuesday, falling eight votes shy of the 60 needed to start the timer on debate over Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will be needed to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and bring it to a timely vote in Congress. The cloture vote concerned two of four pieces of trade legislation voted out of the Finance Committee two weeks ago (TPA and Trade Adjustment Assistance). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excluded the other two bills, which contain language that would attract Democratic support. So, while I wouldn’t bet the ranch on TPA’s passage, there’s still room for horse trading.
In more surprising (and disappointing) news, one senator who will say “no” if TPA makes it to the floor for a vote is Rand Paul, who explained his reasoning on a New Hampshire television news broadcast:
We give up so much power from Congress to the presidency, and with them being so secretive on the treaty, it just concerns me what’s in the treaty.
Let me take Paul’s issues with power, secrecy, and content in order.