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Nathan Newman on March 1, 2007 - 11:00am
Early this week, the Montana State Senate took a shot at out-of-control U.S. trade policies when it overwhelmingly passed (44-6) a resolution calling on Congress not to renew the President's "Fast Track" trade promotion authority. That fast track power gives the President the ability to negotiate trade deals with no amendments allowed by elected officials, leading to a history of bad trade deals that limit opportunity for workers and state legislatures' ability to govern.
The vote in Montana is especially significant, since the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman is Max Baucus from Montana, so, as D.C. insider The Hill newspaper notes, Baucus "is being put under pressure from Democrats in his state to reject an extension of fast-track trade authority, which expires this summer."
In the past, Baucus has been instrumental in the passage of fast track, a tenuous position in a state as economically populist as Montana. More recently, while Baucus still says he is open to a replacement for fast track, he has been demanding stronger labor and environmental provisions and a stronger role for Congress in developing new trade deals.
Along with resulting in catastrophic trade deficits and lost jobs, bad trade deals like NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO have significantly eroded state government sovereignty to regulate businesses and even how states spend their own government dollars in their communities.