Why CAF Is Opposing And Marching Against Fast-Track Trade Legislation

Dave Johnson

The “fast track” trade promotion authority bill that in essence pre-approves the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has been introduced in the Senate. Roger Hickey and Robert Borosage, co-directors of the Campaign for America’s Future, issued this statement Thursday in response to the introduction of the legislation.

The Campaign for America’s Future opposes the “fast track” trade promotion authority (TPA) introduced Thursday by Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Paul Ryan. Why? Because Fast Track is part of a process that rigs our democracy and the global economy, resulting in trade deals that are written to benefit billionaires and giant multinational corporations at the expense of 99 percent of us.

Note: On Monday, CAF will join with activists from National People’s Action, USAction and the Alliance for a Just Society in sponsoring a demonstration against fast track during which hundreds of attendees at our jointly sponsored Populism2015 conference will assemble at the AFL-CIO at 11:30 and rally at noon at the Office of the US Trade Representative (600 17th Street NW). Speakers will include AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, Sen. Bernie Sanders, CWA President Larry Cohen, and populist radio host Jim Hightower.

By approving this fast track process Congress would be relinquishing its duty under Article 1, Section 8 to regulate commerce with foreign nations, instead handing its power over the executive branch.

Fast track effectively pre-approves secretive trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before the Congress and the public have a chance read, analyze and thoroughly consider their ramifications. Fast track also prevents Congress from fixing flaws that might turn up, no matter what harm those flaws might do to working people and our economy.

The flawed trade deals coming out of this rigged process have resulted in enormous and continuing trade deficits that drain our economy of jobs, devastate our communities and increase inequality.

There is no reason to believe that TPP will do anything other than continue these trade deficits, sending even more American jobs and prosperity out of the country.

We should instead bring all stakeholders together – businesses, consumers, labor, environmentalists, LGBT, health advocates, human rights groups and others – to openly negotiate trade deals that lift wages, environmental protections, democracy and prosperity for people on all sides of trade borders. Congress should reject the so-called trade promotion authority.

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