Rules to Follow When Watching TPA-passage in Congress

Article – Mary Bates Veteran reporters watching international trade agreements pretzel their way through Congress are careful to observe certain well-trodden rules .. thus avoiding the many-traps-for-young-players. Rule Number One: the Iceberg Rule. That is, …Rules to Follow When Watching TPA-passage in Congress — and for Would-be Diplomats Veteran reporters watching international trade agreements pretzel their way through Congress are careful to observe certain well-trodden ‘rules’ .. thus avoiding the many-traps-for-young-players. Rule Number One: the ‘Iceberg Rule.’ That is, if you keep watching them, they never seem to move .. look away for a while, and return sight has them solidly moved on. Second Rule: The ‘Magician Rule’. This one dictates not to watch procedural sleight-of-hands — here the 52-45 vote, not on the TPA itself (as many could be forgiven believing), simply when to start debatIng it. Many unsuspecting bodies indeed litter this trap-hole. No, veteran reporters patiently watch the money hand — the final vote on TPA itself — not how and when it made its way to Congress’ floor. As it indeed it proceeded to do following President Obama (and Senator McConnell) making enough concessions to enough of the ten critical Democratic senators who joined Mr. Obama at the White House after the procedural vote stalled — he needing only six of them to pass TPA in the Senate. Indeed, the smart money looked to how...

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