With the introduction of the Fast Track bill by House Ways & Means Committee Chair David Camp and outgoing Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, the fight is on to prevent its passing.
If passed, the legislation would allow the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other pacts to be ‘fast tracked’ through Congress and not be tested by our representatives in government by ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures.
Labor leaders, environmentalists, social justice organizations and more are speaking out against Fast Track. Global Exchange has joined the dozens of organizations at www.stopfasttrack.com to register dissent with the bill.
Below are some perspectives on Fast Track. Please share them with your friends and family. Most importantly, take action by contacting your Congressperson ASAP and tell them to say No More New NAFTAS, No to Fast Track and No to the TPP. You are also encouraged to join us on the streets – wherever you are – on January 31. There are over 40 actions planned throughout Canada and the U.S. Find an action in your community!
Perspectives on Fast Track
Check out what Noam Chomsky has to say about the Tran-Pacific Partnership.
“We’ve seen this movie already when it was called NAFTA, and we know how it ends – job losses, lower wages, and pain for American workers,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. “We cannot allow the TPP and similar trade deals to be rammed through Congress in a secretive and undemocratic process, and we thank the Representatives who have stood up and said NO to Fast Track.”
“Congress should reject this Fast Track legislation, which would cause massive job losses and gut environmental and consumer protections by leading to approval of the TPP,” said Chris Shelton, Vice President, CWA District One. “Just the inclusion of Japan and Vietnam in the TPP would cost 130,000 American jobs. Vietnam’s minimum wage is 28 cents an hour and human rights violations are rampant.”
“Fast Track would allow unfair trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to speed through Capitol Hill with little debate and no amendments,” said Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda. “We must derail Fast Track and replace it with a process that allows Congress to fully debate the deal and make the TPP work for working families. We are not against trade – just unfair trade. We’ve seen enough lost jobs, shuttered plants and abandoned communities as a result of unfair trade agreements.”
“District Council 37 urges our Congressional representatives to vote “NO” to fast track authorization of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Fed trade agreement — the latest in a long line of trade deals that encourage companies to send jobs overseas while undermining environmental, consumer and safety protections at home,” said Lillian Roberts, Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME. “We object to both the policy and the process of fast track authorization of the TPP because with income inequality at an all time high and millions of Americans currently unemployed, the TPP closed-door trade negotiations seem more interested in bowing to corporate demands for deregulation, privatization, tax breaks than including provisions that benefit American workers.”
“We cannot sit by and allow Congress to try to force through this deal that would kill American jobs, while undermining the environmental and consumer protections working people have fought so hard to maintain ” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “By supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, politicians like Rep. Meeks are solidifying their preference to support corporate interests over those of working men and women. Responsible economic policies are necessary, but we cannot allow working people to suffer, while politics and corporate interests are allowed free rein.”
“Although we know few of the details because the trade agreement has been negotiated in strict secrecy, we have received numerous warnings about the impact of this trade agreement and we should heed those warnings. By opposing fast-track we will give the American people and the world the opportunity to read the agreement that has been secretly negotiated in their name,” said Jamie Kemmerer, Regional Organizer, MoveOn NYC.
“The Sierra Club strongly opposes fast-track, and we urge Members of Congress to do the same. The TPP could increase environmental destruction in the Pacific Rim, threaten our climate, and devastate working families. We need a public debate about the impacts of trade pacts like the TPP on our communities and environment–not a process to haphazardly push harmful trade pacts over the finish-line,” said Ilana Solomon, Director, Responsible Trade Program of the Sierra Club.
“The TPP is just another corporate power-grab based on the failed NAFTA-model of trade pacts. The last thing we need is to ram it through Congress using the rubber stamp that is Fast Track. Citizens Trade Campaign New York coalition members from labor, faith, family farm, environmental and community groups understand this. We are committed to beating back Fast Track and fighting for fair trade deals that support the middle class,” said Kian Frederick, NY State Director, Citizens Trade Campaign New York.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens the safety of the food we eat and the water we drink. It spells danger for consumers and our environment. Here in New York, the TPP could undermine longstanding efforts to ban fracking, label genetically-modified food, and support local agriculture. It represents a cynical power grab by multinational corporations and their allies in Congress,” said Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer, Food & Water Watch.
“Unfettered fast track, as the Camp-Baucus proposal calls for, is a recipe for continued outsourcing and offshoring of jobs. The American people are sick and tired of one-way trade. The USW will vigorously oppose the proposal and any efforts to provide preferential and expedited treatment for trade deals that fail to reform and update our nation’s trade policies and allow negotiations to continue to be cloaked in secrecy,” said United Steelworkers international president Leo Gerard.
“America lost nearly 700,000 jobs because of NAFTA. Jobs have been shipped across borders, gutting the middle class. We can’t make that same mistake again,” said Teamsters president James P. Hoffa. “Corporate America loves to tout the growth in trade due to NAFTA. But those dollars have largely gone into the pockets of top executives.”
“Fast track is the wrong track when it comes to a trade deal like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will affect our laws, our jobs, our food and our environment. [It] forces Congress to give up its Constitutional right to amend and improve this trade deal, which now is reportedly more than 1,000 pages long,” said Communications Workers of America president Larry Cohen.
“The IAM strongly opposes the bill… This legislation does not represent the new, transparent trade policy that our economy desperately needs and that U.S. workers deserve. It would make it even easier to obtain passage of the soon to be finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). If TPP is finalized and implemented, it would wreak havoc on U.S. manufacturing workers as thousands of more jobs will be outsourced to countries that do not respect human rights,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.
“The Sierra Club opposes fast track, an outdated and inappropriate mechanism for trade pacts as expansive as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the proposed U.S.-EU trade deal. This legislation strips Congress of its defining democratic characteristic — its check-and-balance structure. If Congress is not able to fully debate and, if necessary, amend the language of these all-encompassing trade pacts, the environment, our climate, and our families could suffer as a result,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
“The Baucus-Camp Fast Track bill turns the U.S. Constitution upside down. Congress must not give away its constitutional authority and facilitate the ratification of an environmentally destructive Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth.
“It’s rare these days that across the aisle, Congress agrees on anything, so it’s notable that a large bipartisan bloc insists on maintaining the exclusive constitutional authority over trade that the Founding Fathers wisely granted to Congress,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.