By Mitch Jones
The United States is currently writing new deals with 11 other Pacific Rim countries and with the European Union. These deals will lead to more pressure to frack for shale gas, increase potentially unsafe seafood imports, privatize our municipal water systems and privatize our food safety inspection system.
The key for these deals getting approved is “Fast Track” trade promotion authority. Fast Track is a scheme under which Congress gives up its right to amend trade agreements. Instead, the administration negotiates the deals and Congress can only vote yes or no. If Congress passes Fast Track any chance of making sure new trade deals won’t harm American families, American workers or our air and water is lost.
In the past week strong bipartisan opposition to Fast Track has emerged on Capitol Hill. Four different letters were sent by Members of Congress to President Obama expressing their opposition to Fast Track—in total 185 Members of Congress have spoken up against it, including 158 Democrats and 27 Republicans.
Whether Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, what these Members realize is that past trade deals haven’t worked out for working families. Wages have been stagnant for the past 40 years, while the profits of the same corporations that will benefit from these deals have grown. Whole industries have been decimated through deals like these. Supporters of these new deals like to tell us that they will be “the gold standard” of trade deals. Well, they may be the gold standard for people sitting around the table in corporate boardrooms, but for people sitting around their kitchen tables they are fool’s gold.
We’ve made a good start in building opposition to Fast Track, but we need to keep working to make sure Congress votes no. Take action today and tell your Member of Congress to “Vote No on Fast Track”.