- Workers shouldn’t have to sacrifice health to provide for their families. Read Sherrod’s #OpEd on #paidleave & RT. http://t.co/exyzXHrq01
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been the public face of the Democratic Party’s feud with President Barack Obama over his trade agenda. But behind the scenes, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) quietly united his party behind a strategy that resulted in a major defeat Tuesday for the president.
Brown’s weeks of work came to fruition when Democrats voted to block legislation that would have given Obama so-called fast-track trade authority. Fast-track authority would strip Congress of the ability to amend trade deals negotiated by the president and is essential for the passage of Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal the administration is negotiating with 11 Pacific nations.
Sen. Christopher Coons sat with President Obama in the Oval Office last week for an hour, and met with him again Monday. But in the end, it was another Democrat who closed the deal with Coons on a high-stakes trade bill: Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Despite Obama’s personal lobbying, Coons voted Tuesday with every other Democrat except one—fellow Delaware Sen. Tom Carper—against moving forward to debate one of Obama’s most significant economic proposals, a legislative package paving the way for one of the largest free trade agreements in history. The reason? An argument from Brown, a fierce antagonist to the president on trade.
Earlier this month I have traveled our state, meeting with workers and businesses about the future of U.S. trade policy. Ohioans are sending one message, loud and clear: the last thing we need is another NAFTA.
Several years ago at my own expense, I toured a Mexican auto plant. It looked very similar to an American factory, with one key difference: the Mexican plant didn’t have a parking lot, because the workers there couldn’t afford to buy the cars they make.
Go around the world, and you see this same scenario across continents and industries. In Bangladesh, in the clothing factories, the workers don’t get paid enough to buy the designer clothing they make. In Colombia, the workers in the flower industry don’t make enough to buy the flowers they help to grow. Go to China, where workers in an Apple factory can’t afford to buy the iPhones they are making.
Because Ohio’s constitution does not allow same sex couples to marry, Jim Obergefell and his husband, John Arthur, had to travel out of state to tie the knot. But after John passed away, the state of Ohio refused to honor their marriage.
Jim fought back, and on April 28th his case will be heard in the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege to meet with Jim. And he told me what he tells everyone who will listen — he wants his marriage to be recognized and for the simple human right to marry the person he loves.
For Jim, this case is personal. But for the country, his case could represent the opportunity to legalize full marriage equality in all 50 states.