Latest Action 10/8/15: Tell Congress to Reject TPP
Call the Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121 to reach your U.S. Legislators
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Tell your U.S. legislators to vote NO on any bill that would grant Fast Track authority for the TPP and other trade agreements!
Help stop the latest push for “Fast Track” legislation. This type of legislation would enable corporate power grabs–like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement–to be rushed through Congress without the normal procedures for amendments and debate.
President Obama and other heads of state are meeting in Asia this month [November 2014] in an attempt to advance the TPP negotiations. The public has been shut out of the TPP negotiating process, while hundreds of corporate lobbyists–representing companies such as Walmart, Cargill and Monsanto–have had access to the texts. This double standard has assured that the TPP has been written in corporations’ interests, with little regard for farmers or working families.
The public deserves the right to know what is being proposed in our names for an international agreement that could set the rules in our country not only for tariffs–but also for food safety, “Buy Local” preferences, energy and environmental policy, financial regulations, Internet protocols, consumer labeling and more.
The big corporations know that if these trade agreements are subject to an open debate in Congress, they almost certainly can’t pass. So they want Congress to give up its constitutional authority and basically hand President Obama (and whoever follows him) a blank check to make the agreements.
They are calling for “Fast Track” to be passed during the post-election “Lame Duck” session of Congress, when political accountability to constituents is often at its lowest. Fast Track is an extreme procedure that was used in the past to push through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and other devastating deals that would not otherwise pass under normal democratic procedures. We’ve seen the results, and they aren’t pretty!
The vote on Fast Track authority for the TPP trade agreement could come at any time. Whether it is called “Fast Track” or “Smart Track”, if the bill does not contain enforceable limitations that include the ability for Congress to debate the specific terms of a trade agreement, it’s the wrong road for the United States.
Stop the Fast Track
What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement?
International courts, acting at the request of private corporations, overturning the laws adopted by your elected officials. Does that sound like a good idea to you? Scarily, if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement goes through, you’ll see a lot more of this.
Read WikiLeaks 10/16/14 Press Release [cartoon: WikiLeaks]
The TPP is a new so-called “free trade” agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and a dozen other Pacific Rim countries. But the reality is that the TPP is a permanent power grab by corporations that will make it impossible for the citizens of the TPP countries, including American citizens, to decide what laws and rules they want to live under. For instance, the TPP would disable the government’s ability to regulate things like GMOs, pesticides, and food additives and would increase corporate control on the global food supply.
The secretive talks are in their 14th round, having begun under George W. Bush in 2008. Little of the document being negotiated has been made publicly available, but what we do know is disturbing. The TPP would go well beyond NAFTA in tearing down domestic laws of all kinds, from food to financial services. American manufacturers and farmers would suffer, while Wall Street banks would reap huge profits and companies would move more operations offshore.
As the TPP nears completion, President Obama is also pushing a separate trade agreement with the European Union that includes very similar provisions. President Obama doesn’t want Americans to look too closely at the details of these deals. He is seeking “fast track authority” for the negotiations, meaning that he, and whoever comes after him, would be able to negotiate as desired without oversight by Congress.
The vote on Fast Track authority for the TPP trade agreement could come at any time.
Please speak up now!
Tell your elected officials that you want them to do their job and not abandon legislative authority to the executive branch. Demand that they take a good, hard look at the TPP–not simply give President Obama a blank check to negotiate away our domestic laws.
Fast track legislation could be tacked to any bill; so, we’re asking Congress to vote NO on any such bill that has been or could be introduced in the future.
The original bill to “fast track” the TPP and other trade agreements filed by Representative Camp (R-MI) and Senator Baucus (D-MT) was S1900 and HR3830, referred to as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014. A different bill is likely to be introduced with similar content or may refer to “Smart Track” instead.
UPDATE 4/22/15: Draft TPP documents courtesy WikiLeaks
Read the leaked TPP draft documents at WikiLeaks.com:
- Intellectual Property Rights – “perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.”https://wikileaks.org/tpp[click here to view the 8/30/2013 chapter draft] Also leaked on 10/16/14 was an updated draft from May 2014.
- Environment Chapter – “Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures. The dispute settlement mechanisms it creates are cooperative instead of binding; there are no required penalties and no proposed criminal sanctions. With the exception of fisheries, trade in ‘environmental’ goods and the disputed inclusion of other multilateral agreements, the Chapter appears to function as a public relations exercise.” — https://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro/pressrelease.html [click here to view the November 2013 chapter draft, leaked on 1/15/2014]
- Investment Chapter – “The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies.” — https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/press.html[click here to view the 1/20/2015 chapter draft, leaked on 3/25/2015]
Our best chance to stop the Fast Track is in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Please follow up your message sent via the FAX Petition with a call or e-mail to your U.S. Representative. You can find out who represents you at www.house.gov or by calling the Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
- Sample script:
My name is ___ and I am a constituent. I am calling to urge Representative ____ to vote NO on any bill that would grant Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.
You can find out who represents you at www.senate.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
- Sample script:
My name is ___ and I am a constituent. I am calling to urge Senator ____ to vote NO on any bill that would grant Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.
Follow up your message sent via the FAX Petition by phone or email.
If you send an email, please be sure to personalize your message! Add a couple of sentences at the beginning about who you are and why these issues matter to you–it will make a much bigger impact.
SAMPLE MESSAGE for emails:
My name is ___ and I am a constituent. I urge you to vote NO on any bill that would grant Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.
Both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S./EU Free Trade Agreement will harm American workers and consumers.
A true free trade agreement would remove trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas–and it would stop there. But these agreements go far beyond free trade, and they would undermine our domestic laws. The deals will increase the flow of dangerous fish imports from Southeast Asia, lower our consumer product and food safety standards, increase exports of natural gas to Japan, and undermine financial regulations.
Fast Track authority leaves the decisions on these agreements in the President’s hands alone. That’s not how Congress is supposed to work. And whether it is called Fast Track or Smart Track, if the bill does not contain enforceable limitations that include the ability for Congress to debate the specific terms of a trade agreement, it’s the wrong road for the United States.
I urge you to vote NO on Fast Track authority for trade agreements, in order to keep the proper checks and balances in our system.
Your Full Name
Your City, State [so the legislator can verify you are a constituent]
UPDATE 6/22/15: LATEST ACTIONFast Track Ping Pong – The Senate to vote on amended HR 2146 this week
Call the Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121 to reach your U.S. Senators
UPDATE 6/14/15: CLICK HERE FOR LATEST ACTIONFast Track Still Lurks – The House votes again this week on the Trade Act of 2015 (HR 1314)
Call toll-free 888-804-8311 to reach your U.S. Representative