Thursday, November 6, 2014

Teamsters help deliver 664,000 signatures opposing Fast Track to key lawmaker on trade

This is what 664,000 signatures against Fast Track look like. 
Teamsters and allies carried 644,000 signatures opposing Fast Track legislation to Sen. Ron Wyden's office today. Wyden, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, plays a key role in moving trade deals like TPP and TTIP through Congress.

(And by the way, Dean Baker does a nifty job today explaining why 'trade deals' aren't really trade deals here. They're more like corporate conspiracies.)

"Fast track" is a way to take decision-making powers away from Congress and replace them with a rubber stamp. It's the last thing this country needs right now. Congress should be carefully looking at every word in these trade deals to make sure they benefit working families and not corporations and lobbyists.

Advocates for the TPP and TTIP want Congress to have fast track authority in order to get those deals passed. They know full well the TPP and TTIP can's stand up to public scrutiny. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren said,
I actually have had supporters of the deal say to me ‘They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.’
What better time to pass Fast Track than in the upcoming lame-duck session, when lawmakers won't be held accountable for their votes? They've already won -- or lost.

Right now, President Obama is preparing to leave for Asia in an effort to finish the stalled TPP negotiations. As our allies at the Citizens Trade Campaign pointed out in a press release:
... a broad coalition of labor, environmental and consumer groups delivered over half a million petition signatures and letters to key Congressional leaders today opposing Fast Track authority for the pact. ... 
"Fast Track is as dead in the water post-election as it was before it," said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign.  "After all the secrecy and back-room dealmaking surrounding the TPP negotiations, there's no way the public, civil society or responsible policymakers will allow the pact to be rushed through Congress." 
President Obama is heading to Asia this weekend for a week of summits and meetings aimed, in part, at bringing the TPP to conclusion. The TPP is a twelve-nation pact that would set rules affecting approximately 40% of the global economy, covering not only tariffs and quotas, but everything from financial regulations and public procurement to medicine patents and environmental policy.  While various leaked texts from the TPP negotiations have been published by Citizens Trade Campaign and WikiLeaks, none of the U.S. proposals or composite texts has every been officially released for review by the public.