A coalition of groups are organizing to oppose renewing President Bush's fast-track authority for international trade deals. Their main target of the moment is Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade issues. Baucus favors extending fast-track, albeit with additional environmental and labor protections and added Congressional oversight.
As I reported in a recent profile of Baucus, the Montana Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution last month, by a vote of 45-5, urging their senior senator to oppose fast-track reauthorization. Subsequently, a group of seven US senators, led by Senator Sherrod Brown, asked for a meeting with Baucus to voice their concerns. "Years of job-killing trade agreements are taking their toll on workers and small business owners alike," Brown says.
A new progressive group, They Work For Us, began running radio ads against Baucus's position in Montana this week. "The Bush administration, surprisingly with Senator Max Baucus' support, wants the power to fast track these bad trade deals, costing Montana thousands of good-paying jobs and undermining our state's rights," the ad states.
Fast-track expires in June. We'll keep you on the legislative fight.