Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is expected to become Chair the Senate Finance Committee. A Senate aide says Hatch wants to make Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) — “Fast Track” — one of his top priorities in the new Congress.
Under Fast Track Congress, agrees to pass new trade treaties with no amendments, on a straight up-or-down vote, within 90 days of seeing what is in the treaty for the first time. This enables giant corporations to set up a huge PR campaign timed for this 90-day period, applying tremendous pressure on members of Congress, before the public has a change to digest what is in these agreements and rally opposition. (These trade agreements are negotiated in secret, with unions, environmental organizations, consumer groups, and other stakeholders barred from the table.) This is how we end up with these “NAFTA-style” trade agreements, that ship jobs and factories out of the country and let corporations sue governments for interfering with profits by doing things like encouraging their citizens not to smoke. This is how we ended up with an enormous, humongous, and ongoing trade deficit that measures the loss of jobs, factories, and industries.
President Obama is in Asia right now, pushing for the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He says the treaty will bring “improved job prospects.” However, up to now every trade agreement negotiated in secret by representatives hoping to move into lucrative corporate positions has benefited those corporations and the billionaires behind them but hurt our country and our people. The result has been loss of income, jobs, factories, industries and a huge trade deficit that drains our economy, and lowers standard of living. The process is flawed, and the result is deadly.
TPP has a chapter called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) that allows corporations to sue governments in “corporate courts” with corporate lawyers as judges. Corporations can sue governments for interfering with profits by doing things like protecting the environment or protecting the health of citizens. Tobacco companies are already suing governments to stop anti-smoking efforts using ISDS!
TPP is being finalized. It is being negotiated in secret, with only corporate representatives at the table. (The government officials doing the negotiation all come from and/or will go to lucrative corporate positions — but only if they “play ball.”) We know some of what is in TPP because of leaks.
Fast Track will be used to push TPP through Congress once it is completed.
Week Of Action Against Fast Track
This is the Week of Action Against Fast Track. This is the time to drive awareness of this rigged process so people know what is coming. People are explaining what Fast Track is, and letting their members of Congress know they oppose this in the coming “lame duck” session of Congress — and when the new Congress begins next year.