The Latest on TPP Fast Track

Unable to pass the Fast Track bill that just barely squeaked through the Senate in May, the House resorted to sending back a different version of the legislation on Thursday, June 19.

The overall trade package sent back by the House is considerably worse than the already-bad package previously approved by the Senate.  We obviously want the Senate to reject this new package.

As short-sighted and inappropriate as the original Ryan-Hatch Fast Track bill was, the House package would also weaken human trafficking measures; eliminate simple currency measures and other enforcement provisions; and even prohibit the consideration of climate solutions in future trade negotiations.

For those Senators concerned about job retraining programs for displaced workers or the future of the Export-Import Bank, this package also relies on Democrats to simply trust the goodwill of House Republicans to pass those later, even though they are openly hostile to both.

The fact that the House could not find the votes to pass the Senate-approved Fast Track bill is a testament to the strong public opposition to the legislation.  The current merry-go-round of bills signals just how unpopular job-killing trade policy is across the country, with Congress members desperate to cover themselves from the constituent fury they’ll face back home if Fast Track ever passes for real.

The Senate is expected to hold a “cloture” vote on Fast Track as soon as Tuesday, June 23 — which would require the support of 60 Senators for the bill to proceed.  Please urge your Senators to vote NO on cloture for Fast Track.

Here’s an initial list of actions taking place prior to the vote…

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Job Loss, Lower Wages and Higher Drug Prices

Have you heard? The TPP is a massive, controversial “free trade” agreement currently being pushed by big corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The TPP would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “trade” pact model that has spurred massive U.S. trade deficits and job loss, downward pressure on wages, unprecedented levels of inequality and new floods of agricultural imports. The TPP not only replicates, but expands NAFTA’s special protections for firms that offshore U.S. jobs. And U.S. TPP negotiators literally used the 2011 Korea FTA – under which exports have fallen and trade deficits have surged – as the template for the TPP.

In one fell swoop, this secretive deal could:

Although it is called a “free trade” agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP’s 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.

The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the “expected future profits” they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies.We only know about the TPP’s threats thanks to leaks – the public is not allowed to see the draft TPP text. Even members of Congress, after being denied the text for years, are now only provided limited access. Meanwhile, more than 500 official corporate “trade advisors” have special access. The TPP has been under negotiation for six years, and the Obama administration wants to sign the deal this year. Opposition to the TPP is growing at home and in many of the other countries involved.

Flush the TPP!

Cross border network against the Trans Pacific Partnership

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