It’s hard not to admire Senator Baucus waiting until the first week of Congressional session to offer the Bush administration another blank check. In a Wall Street Journal love letter to “free” trade and unfettered Presidential power, Senator Baucus once again has forgotten that the people he represents are more important than the multinational corporations that fund his campaigns.
Senator Baucus does offer the same kind of lip service that allows Democrats afraid of their own party to pretend to oppose this President, noting:
Fast-track authority should be improved as it is renewed, with better trade enforcement capability and better environmental and labor provisions. By making those changes, we can protect American interests, project America’s values, and help to create consumer classes capable of purchasing more U.S.-made goods. And as we address expiring fast-track authority, we must take on — head-on — globalization’s downsides, especially worker displacement and the unsustainable trade deficit.
No matter how many Democratic constituency groups Baucus tried to appease in that paragraph, it’s largely lip service. Concern for the environment, labor, and consumers are precisely the kind of objections that cause responsible members of the Senate to oppose fast track. The up or down votes that TPA envisions are another example of expanded Presidential authority–authority we cannot extend this, or any President.
Senator Baucus knows better. If there is any lesson of the past six years, it is that less oversight over this President is disastrous. Rather than abrogate his responsibility yet again, it’s time for Senator Baucus to stand up for the interests of American workers, the environment, and workers under the thumb of multinational corporations in the developing world.