Here they go again. Congress is once again considering “fast track” approval of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Fast track means no public hearings, no floor debate, no amendments — no civic engagement whatsoever.
The stakes are high. The TPP would be the largest trade deal in history, covering 792 million people and about 40% of the world’s economy. If fast track is approved, rules affecting food and farming — among many other sectors — will be negotiated completely behind closed doors.
In a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, former Secretary of Labor Richard Reich warns that the TPP could start a “global race to the bottom.” He and his co-author, labor leader Richard Trumka, urge Congress to open up the sweeping trade agreement for public scrutiny and debate.
When the push for fast track first emerged more than a year ago, PAN Midwest Organizer Linda Wells explained how pacts like the TPP can undermine hard-fought public health protections:
“Agreements like NAFTA and the TPP essentially uphold the lowest common denominator in terms of worker and environmental protections as the desirable standard, opening up a wide range of domestic laws, protections, and policies to challenge by foreign investors.”
Widespread public outcry raised enough concern in the last Congress to put the brakes on fast track approval. But now the Administration is once again asking for closed door consideration. As Reich noted in his op-ed, it would be a “grave mistake” for Congress to fast track this giant trade deal:
“A fast-tracked TPP would lock in a rigged set of economic rules, lasting potentially forever, before most Americans — let alone some members of Congress — have had a chance to understand it.”
Let’s remind our legislators that they’re accountable to us, not to the large corporations that are serving as “advisors” at the TPP negotiating table. Tell Congress to stop the fast track, today.