In the continuing battle over whether Congress should pass fast track authority legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch today unleashed the latest salvo: a list of more than 2,000 organizations in opposition to the trade bill that President Obama is trying to push through Congress.
The list is part of a letter the organization sent to Congress urging members to oppose the fast-track bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Its release follows come caustic comments from Obama last week directed at opponents of fast track, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and organizations like the Campaign for America's Future. He said Warren and other critics "don't know what they're talking about" and compared them to critics of the Affordable Care Act on the right who conjured up the specter of "death panels."
The letter concedes that while the legislation "includes several negotiating objectives not found in previous Fast Track iterations," it still enshrines a process that "ensures that these objectives are entirely unenforceable. If this legislation we re enacted, the president could sign and enter into a trade agreement before Congress votes on it — whether or not the negotiating objectives have been met."
"Provisions of the bill touted as improving public access to trade texts fail to match even the level of transparency found in past practice," the letter said.
Given that the proposed treaty's scope is much broader than previous trade agreements – it "would set binding policy on Congress and state legislatures relating to patents and copyright, food safety, government procurement, financial regulation, immigration, healthcare, energy, the environment, labor rights and more" – "such a broad delegation of Congress’ constitutional authorities is simply inappropriate."
The letter is 41 pages long, but 40 of those 41 pages is a list of organizations opposing the fast-track legislation.