Two weeks ago, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee passed the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 otherwise known as Fast Track. This means fast tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could be voted on by the full House and Senate as early as a week from tomorrow — Monday, May 11th — when Congress returns from recess.
The TPP has been called “NAFTA on steroids” and “a global corporate coup d’etat.” It is bad for workers, consumers, the environment and national sovereignty. It most certainly requires full debate in the Congress. The problem is if this Fast Track bill passes, the TPP and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with European countries most certainly will as well.
Hillary Clinton is coming to Beverly Hills to kick off her presidential campaign at the home of billionaire Haim Saban on Thursday. Organizations representing labor, the environment, human rights, the internet, immigrants and food safety will be holding a press conference and rally to ask Clinton to come out unequivocally in opposition to the fast tracking of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Will you please join us?
WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 4-7 p.m.
WHERE: Will Rogers Memorial Park, 9650 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210
WHAT: Rally and press conference with speakers then march
Fast Track, takes away Congress’s authority under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to regulate commerce with foreign nations. It would cede this power to the Executive branch and give Congress only 60 days to read and digest a 2000-page agreement, 18 seconds each to comment on it on the floor, and no opportunity to offer amendments, just the chance to vote it up or down. This is a Nixon-era procedure that is bad for democracy.
President Obama and the GOP are pushing the TPP and Fast Track; and some corporate Democrats in the Senate will vote for it. So far, most of the House Democrats have been opposed to it. But Obama has been whipping this furiously with Democrats in the House and last week met with the 47 Democrats in the New Democrat Caucus to get those who are against fast track to change their minds. He even criticized Elizabeth Warren who has been sounding the alarm about this disastrous deal saying she was wrong about it. She is not.
When Hillary was First Lady, she supported NAFTA, which we now know is responsible for the outsourcing of millions of good-paying American jobs. When she was a Senator, she voted for every free trade agreement but CAFTA. When she was Secretary of State, she sold the TPP as part of the president’s Asia pivot, calling it “the gold standard in trade agreements.”
And recently her campaign said, “She will be watching closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health, promote transparency and open new opportunities for our small businesses to export overseas. Read this for an excellent summary of her shifting positions on trade, “
She also said, “Any trade deal has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security. We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and the skills to be competitive.”
We know that this deal does none of those things, according to this comprehensive analysis by the group Public Citizen. So why is she refusing to flat out oppose it?
Last week the Huffington Post, posted a misleading headline for a few hours saying that Hillary opposed the TPP. However, when you read the article, all it said was in her book she said she opposed the trade dispute clause. We know that the Investor State Resolution Dispute (ISDR) clause is still in this TPP Fast Track bill.
This is the clause that makes corporations more powerful than governments, because they can sue them in international trade tribunals if any local, state or federal law interferes with their “expected future profits.” These are kangaroo courts because the judges are corporate lawyers who alternate between representing corporations and judging cases. This is being done under current trade agreements. Lone Pine Resources is suing Quebec for their fracking ban. Phillip Morris is suing Uruguay and Australia for their cigarette plain packaging laws.
As her new challenger in the Democratic primary Bernie Sanders said, “For decades, corporate America has been pushing disastrous trade agreements on the American people. The result: millions of jobs lost through outsourcing, lower wages and the collapse of our middle class. … My strong hope is that Secretary Clinton and all candidates, Republicans and Democrats, will make it clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership should be rejected and that we must develop trade policies that benefit working families, not just Wall Street and multi-national corporations.”
Meet us at the south end of Will Rogers Memorial Park across from the Beverly Hills Hotel. (There is ample free street parking and the Sunset Blvd. bus stops right in front.) We will rally at the park with speakers, and then march 1/2 mile to the corner of Tower Road and Benedict Canyon while we wait for Hillary’s motorcade.
Please invite your friends. Share these memes on Facebook and Twitter. It is crucial to stop this TPP Fast Track bill; and securing Hillary’s opposition will help.