November 2, 2014


If Republicans take Senate, Asia trade could be rare point of common ground with White House (MATTHEW PENNINGTON, 11/02/14, Associated Press)

Obama needs special authority, known as fast track, to negotiate trade deals that Congress can accept or reject, but cannot change. It would smooth the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is under discussion with 11 nations, and help advance separate negotiations with the 28-member European Union.

Fast-track legislation was introduced in January but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would not allow a vote. Many Democrats fear that opening markets to countries with lower wages and standards will cost American jobs. Republicans tend to be more supportive, seeing more trade as benefiting the economy.

With Republicans favored to take control of the Senate and expand their House majority, trade could become a rare point of agreement between a Republican Congress and the White House.

Braced for a Shift in Congress, Obama Is Setting a New Agenda (PETER BAKER and MICHAEL D. SHEAR, NOV. 1, 2014, NY Times)

White House officials see potential for legislation on cybersecurity, energy, sentencing guidelines and surveillance. But the three areas most cited are trade, corporate taxes and infrastructure. Democrats like Mr. Reid have resisted giving Mr. Obama trade negotiating authority, so a Republican Senate may be better for the president on this issue.

And yet, there are deep disagreements even in these areas. Mr. Obama, for instance, wants to rewrite the corporate tax code to bring down rates while closing loopholes. Republicans want a broader overhaul, including personal income taxes, since small businesses pay taxes that way.

Still, Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, expressed optimism. "I'm sure there are going to be other partisan fights, particularly if the president continues to overreach administratively," he said. "That will create some friction. But those three issues are ripe for bipartisanship."

The combination of Amnesty, XL approval, corporate tax reform, the Iranian rapproachment, and trade deals will goose the economy enough that the two sides will be seen to be responsible for the Peace Dividend. It's 1994 all over again.

Posted by at November 2, 2014 6:44 AM

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