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American-producer New Balance wins sports shoe contest, as Elizabeth Warren stops Fast Track in Senate on Procedural Vote
Howard Richman, 5/12/2015

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gets credit for this one. She led the Democratic Senators in a rebellion. Previously, they had backed everything that Obama had sent down the pike. All but one of the Democrats voted against the bill.

One of the issues was the sports shoe contest. The Bangor Daily News explains:

Massachusetts-bases shoe manufacturer New Balance, which has manufacturing plants in Maine, has said the trade deal’s passage could cause it to cut back its domestic manufacturing. Shoe giant Nike is among those lobbying for removing tariffs on shoe imports from Vietnam.

New Balance officials have said removing the tariffs would make it difficult to compete and could jeopardize 900 jobs at its Maine plants in Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Norway.

Meanwhile, Senator McConnell was reluctant to compromise with Democrats on the procedural vote, possibly because he would be losing his own Senators on the votes to follow. If he had continued, five had already announced that they were planning to oppose Fast-Track, including Mike Lee two days ago and Rand Paul today. And others were wavering including Sen. Collins of Maine, who was careful to point out in her comments afterward that her vote did not mean that she favored Fast Track:

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said she voted to continue debate because the bill included an extension of trade adjustment assistance that she co-authored with Wyden, the Oregon Democrat who voted against the bill. That program provides assistance to workers who lost their jobs as a result of foreign competition.

“My vote should not be construed as signifying support for either Trade Promotion Authority or the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Collins said in a news release. “I remain very skeptical about granting the president TPA as it paves the way for TPP, which could in turn threaten many American jobs.”

Less than two weeks ago, Trade Promotion Authority came out of the Senate Finance Committee with a huge head of steam. But successful lobbying by the opposition stopped it in its tracks.

Their fellow Republican Senators cannot be happy with Senators Hatch and McConnell at the moment. Hatch brought it up in the Senate Finance Committee and McConnell before the Senate despite the overwhelming opposition of the American people, including about three-quarters of Republicans. By giving the Democratic Senators a big stand-for-the-people victory, Hatch and McConnell may have caused their party to lose the Senate in 2016.

The other big losers were presidential candidates Senator Cruz, Senator Rubio and Governor Jeb Bush, who publicly promoted giving Obama fast-track authority. Bush is now down to 5% support in the polls for the Republican primaries.

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