Congress must oppose fast-track

By From page C2 | March 14, 2014

The Trans Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement that could devastate our climate and our environment. It would elevate corporations to the level of nations, thus allowing foreign companies to directly sue governments in private trade tribunals over laws and policies that corporations allege reduce their profits. It also would open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and, therefore, fracking across the United States.

What is fast-track? Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, otherwise known as “fast-track,” which could facilitate passage of deeply flawed trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact with limited public and congressional input. It’s critical that Congress have debate and not sign the TPP with a straight up-or-down vote — without room for amendments and with only limited floor debate.

First of all, fast-track is an outdated and inappropriate mechanism. It was first passed in 1974 when trade pacts focused on traditional trade issues, like tariffs and quotas. Today, trade pacts like the TPP cover a broad range of issues, including the environment, investment, labor, government procurement, consumer protections and many more things we face in our everyday lives. It is therefore critical that Congress maintain its constitutional authority to oversee trade policy and ensure that trade pacts protect communities, workers and the environment before the pacts get finalized.

The bottom line is that fast-track would set us up for failure. It’s critical that Congress has the ability to effectively oversee trade negotiations and ensure that the contents of our trade agreements protect our workers, communities and environment in the United States and abroad.

The public and members of Congress have effectively been left in the dark for too long. Now it’s up to Congress to take the reins and oppose fast-track. On behalf of the MoveOn Council of Davis and our many members and supports, we urge Congress members to oppose this fast-track bill.

Reeda Palmer

Frances Burke


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