The supposedly tea-stained House of Representatives passed three free trade bills yesterday, despite ample polling data showing that Tea Party voters are strongly opposed to free trade. It’s just further proof, writes Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, that “for all the talk of populist foment,” from the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, “business interests remain firmly in control” in Washington. “Forced to choose between their voters and their donors, lawmakers don’t hesitate before choosing the latter."
The free trade bills “had been at the top of corporate America’s wish list,” and they were “just one of the day’s party favors for corporations." John Boehner also announced that he wouldn’t allow a vote on a bill to punish China for manipulating its currency—even though it would have "passed easily if it had the chance." Lindsey Graham pleaded with him to reconsider, saying lawmakers were “miscalculating” public sentiment. “Of course, Boehner et al haven’t miscalculated at all,” Milbank writes. “They’re perfectly aligned with the people who fund their campaigns."