Sunday, May 24, 2015

Senate Passes Fast-Track Trade Authority For Obama, But House Fight Looms

By Don Lee and Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — After a lengthy debate, the Senate approved a contentious bill Friday that would grant President Barack Obama the power to speed up passage of trade deals, but a tougher battle is expected in the House.

The 62-37 vote to give the president so-called fast-track authority is a big boost for his top economic priority, bringing him closer to his goal of forging an ambitious Pacific free-trade accord known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Today’s bipartisan Senate vote is an important step toward ensuring the United States can negotiate and enforce strong, high-standards trade agreements,” Obama said.…

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Polls Show Discontent With GOP Congress, Rising Liberalism — And Shifting Memories On Iraq

Pew Research finds that nobody likes Republican leaders in Congress — not even Republicans. And the numbers have been getting slightly worse since February. Democratic leaders are also underwater, but at least they get a positive rating from their own partisans.

A new set of numbers from Gallup shows an amazing development on cultural issues: Self-identified social liberals now match the number of self-identified social conservatives, for the first time since Gallup began tracking this in 1999.

However, on economic issues the number of self-identified conservatives still grows higher than that of liberals.

Ed Kilgore writes: “So whatever else this means, it means the temptation for Democrats to carve out some sort of “economic liberal/social conservative” position, which was very strong in the 1980s and 1990s in some culturally conservative areas of the country (typically those with a lot of white working-class voters who retained enough union influence to keep them from defecting to the GOP entirely), has now pretty much vanished.”

But a word of caution: Polls are simply a snapshot of where anything is at a moment in time — as a new YouGov poll reminds us.…

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A Family Comparison Jeb Bush May Welcome

By Michael C Bender and Terrence Dopp, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — As Jeb Bush tries to turn the page on Iraq, he’ll be inviting comparisons to another chapter of the family’s foreign policy legacy when he kicks off an overseas tour next month.

Bush’s aides have described the weeklong foreign trip in economic terms, saying the former Florida governor and probable Republican presidential candidate planned to discuss innovation and technology in the global economy during stops in Germany, Poland and Estonia. He’ll participate in a question-and-answer session during an economic conference on June 9 in Berlin, speaking after Google Inc.…

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