In an uncharacteristic move, Congressmember Lois Capps broke with President Barack Obama and voted against two measures last Friday designed to give the President authority to fast track a trade pact among 12 Pacific nations.
The trade pact — for which Obama lobbied hard — has been vehemently opposed by the congressional Democratic leadership, labor unions, and environmental groups. They’ve charged the Trans-Pacific Partnership would succeed at the expense of environmental protections and American jobs.
Capps joined with the Democrats in defeating an accompanying bill that would have provided assistance to workers who might be displaced by the pact. For many decades, Democrats have championed exactly such protections, but in the current context, this was dismissed as a palliative for something fundamentally flawed.
Capps spokesperson Chris Meagher said neither bill was in “the best of interests of the middle class or Central Coast.” When asked if there were specific changes that could win Capps’s vote, Meagher stated, “She believes we need to focus on rebuilding our middle class before pivoting to international trade.”