(Daniel Marans – HuffPost US)
Democrats rejected a stalwart union ally’s bid to chair the House panel charged with overseeing international trade, in favor of a more business-friendly choice.
Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday elected Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) as chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on Trade, defying organized labor and left-leaning trade critics who had pushed for Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) to get the top spot in conversations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats.
In particular, Blumenauer drew ire among critics of corporate influence in trade agreements for his key role in enabling passage of trade promotion authority in 2015. Known as fast-track authority, it assures presidents an up-or-down vote in Congress on international trade deals, precluding a lengthy debate and amendment process. At the time, it was widely viewed as a prerequisite for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial 12-nation trade pact negotiated by then-President Barack Obama but opposed by a majority of House Democrats. Click here to read more.