Anti-trade Democrats and unions: the luddites are back

So much for the pivot to Asia.

Even Hillary, who has flip-flopped on free trade more than a fish on a hot dock, has joined the anti-trade cabal to cater to the left wing.

But now, with House passage of President Barack Obama’s fast-track trade bill earlier today, the Senate should exercise common sense and pass the bill, too.

Pandering to their union patrons (who represent just 6.6 percent of private sector workers), smug environmentalists and left-wing zealots, House Democrats undercut President Obama on June 12 by repulsing a workers-aid program that was a key element of a fast track trade bill. In doing so, they handed Obama a defeat, left his trade agenda in limbo and ignored reality.

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke in Portland May 18, 2015, about the union's opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke in Portland May 18, 2015, about the union’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.

The United States has been trying to conclude a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with 11 countries around the Pacific, including Australia, Japan and Vietnam.

After unions threatened to launch primary challenges against Democrats who voted for Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation, only 40 —less than one-fourth of the caucus—voted for the bill on June 12, which lost 302-126. The vote made Trade Promotion Authority support largely irrelevant.

This fruitless, attempt to hold back history could cause significant and long-term economic and strategic harm to the United States.

Without Senate approval of fast-track legislation, further progress on the negotiations is unlikely. It may also hold up Japanese economic reforms, aid China and penalize U. S. companies trying desperately to be competitive in international markets.

Only the truly out-of-touch, or craven opportunists, could see all this as a good thing.

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