Warning that passing Fast Track legislation would amount to rubber-stamping corporate trade pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, progressives are vowing to hold members of Congress accountable for their votes on the compromise bill announced Thursday—and reminding them of how dangerous such trade policies are for the public, workers, and the planet.
“[T]he big deal is that Fast Track sets the stage for new flawed trade deals including the TPP and a deal with the European Union (known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP),” wrote Patrick Woodall, research director and senior policy advocate for Food & Water Watch, in an op-ed published Friday at Common Dreams. “These two mega-trade deals would impose the global trade rules benefiting transnational companies on the majority of the global economy.”
Woodall predicted: “Now that the [Fast Track] bill has been introduced expect a fever-pitched campaign by the free-trade lobby to move the bill along.”
But despite aggressive campaigning from corporate interests and President Barack Obama’s administration, Fast Track approval in the U.S. House and Senate is anything but a done deal.
The open warring among Democrats over fast-track trade legislation, and the party’s broader existential crisis on free trade, grew more pronounced Thursday as senior lawmakers announced a breakthrough on the trade bill. Many Democrats still feel the burn, 20 years later, of lost manufacturing jobs from the North American Free Trade Agreement — pushed through by former President Bill Clinton — and they fear another Democratic president is on the verge of turning his back on working-class Americans by negotiating a trade deal that would send jobs overseas.