We Must Stop Fast Track From Ever Passing
Decades of failed “free trade” agreements have caused American manufacturing to leave our shores. Now we see President Obama pushing for passage of a new “free trade” agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership(TPP). Though the mainstream media has kept silent on the TPP, we cannot afford to stay silent. Like previous “free trade” agreements, the TPP would be a disaster for our economy, our rights, our environment and would surrender our sovereignty to multinational corporations.
Leaked documents have shown the vast impact it would have on intellectual property rights, pharmaceuticals and the environment, and that’s just from the two leaked chapters that we have seen. There are 29 chapters that make up the TPP and of them only 5 have to do with trade.
The TPP has been described by some as a “corporate coup d’etat” because it is believed to exceed previous free trade agreements in granting corporations the right to sue governments for lost profits because of unfavorable laws.
And while corporate lobbyists have had unfettered access to the negotiations, our own Congressional representatives have been left out. Some of the few legislators who have been given limited access have said plain and simple that it sells out our democracy for corporate interests. Meanwhile the president is pushing for Fast Track Authority to guarantee it is pushed through Congress as soon as it is finalized with as little scrutiny as possible.
Fast Track, or Trade Promotion Authority as it is also called, grants the president permission to make and sign any trade deal with another country. It then is sent to Congress, with a simple majority vote. There would be no committee session on the agreements, no possibility of a filibuster or amendments, and debates would be limited. The bottom line is that Fast Track would guarantee that the TPP would get little scrutiny.
But many members of Congress, including Democrats, have already begun pushing back. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told the president it would not be wise to push for Fast Track now. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, said the president’s push for Fast Track is out of sync with the party’s priorities.
“How can you say on one hand you want to address income inequality, you want to make this economy work for everyone, and on the other hand, say you want trade promotion authority so you can pass these NAFTA-style trade deals?” Ellison asked. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Despite the continually growing concerns over Fast Track, the president is bent on getting it passed. It is believed by some that Congress will try to ram Fast Track through after the elections in the lame-duck session while the public is not paying attention.
We cannot allow the President to bully the Trans-Pacific Partnership to passage. Stopping Fast Track is the first step to standing up to the president and the corporate lobbyists supporting the TPP. We must keep our representatives accountable to us by making our voices heard on this matter. Contact your Congressional representative today and tell them to vote no on Fast Track.
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