With dissent fermenting on both sides of the political aisle, more than 2,000 civil society groups are urging Congress to reject Fast Track trade authority, warning that the legislation would pave the way for approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-nation proposal they say “replicates and expands on the most damaging provisions of past U.S. trade pacts.”
The joint letter (pdf), signed by 2,009 labor, environmental, family farm, consumer, faith, Internet freedom, and other groups, describes Fast Track authority—which would empower President Barack Obama to negotiate trade deals that could not be amended or filibustered in Congress—as “simply inappropriate given the scope of the pending agreements.”
After decades of massive trade deficits, devastating job loss, downward pressure on Americans’ wages, attacks on environmental and health laws and floods of unsafe imported food under our past trade agreements, America must chart a new course on trade policy. To accomplish this, a new form of trade authority is needed that ensures that Congress and the public play a much more meaningful role in determining the contents of U.S. trade agreements.
Fast Track is an abrogation of not only Congress’ constitutional authority, but of its responsibility to the American people.