On Tuesday, the super-secret negotiations for the disastrous trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, were rocked by a surprise vote in Washington. The Senate had failed in its initial effort to pass “Fast Track", the first step in the process to ram the TPP through Congress.
Even though the Senate has since worked out a deal to pass Fast Track, Tuesday's vote was a huge win for democracy and has thrown a major wrench into the biggest corporate power grab in history.
The battle to stop the TPP now moves to the House, where our representatives are under intense pressure to pass Fast Track now, and if that happens it'll breathe new life into the faltering negotiations. We need to counter that pressure and make sure our elected officials know that their constituents -- that's us -- are deeply worried about what this dangerous deal will do to our democracy and the global economy.
Send an urgent message to your representative, telling them to oppose Fast Track and the TPP.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a massive multi-country agreement being negotiated entirely in secret that would give corporations the power to decide our laws on everything from access to affordable medicines to what we eat. It would undermine financial reform and destabilize job markets across the globe. It would open up our local and national governments to lawsuits from corporations if we pass laws that infringe on profits.
You know it's a bad deal when you look at the who's-who of mega-corporations that have come out in favor of this deal: Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Nike, Cargill, Walmart… the list goes on, and on, and on.
Fast Track Authority is key to the President's strategy to win approval for TPP. It would allow the President to negotiate the trade deal knowing that Congress could only vote yes or no on the ultimate deal, forfeiting their right to offer amendments. Countries like Japan and Canada have made very clear that they won't move forward with final negotiations this month unless Fast Track is in place. They know a final agreement can never be reached with all 18 negotiating countries as long as Congress can amend the deal.
Fast Track may pass or fail by a few votes. Make sure your representative knows where you stand.
Pressure is mounting on our Representatives to vote for Fast Track ASAP, so that when the next round of negotiations happen in two weeks, the US negotiators will be able to show that Congress is committed to passing this deal. It's going to come down to a few votes either way, so the President's gone on a lobbying offensive, making personal trips to meet with Congresspeople and promising them who-knows-what to secure their votes. Veteran lobbyists say they've never seen the kind of pressure on legislators that's coming to bear in Washington now.
That means our representatives need to hear from us urgently, before they bow to the pressure and tempting offers coming from the White House and Congressional Republicans to vote for Fast Track. If we succeed in blocking Fast Track in the House, then it's very likely that the TPP will be dead for good.
Send a message to your Representative, telling them to stand against Fast Track and the TPP.
This huge moment wouldn't have been possible without all of our hard work. Thousands of us have made phone calls, hundreds of thousands of us across the globe have signed petitions, and we've been showing up at negotiations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean to make our voices heard.
The actual text of the deal is being kept secret from everyone -- well, except for the hundreds of corporate lobbyists who are actively involved in negotiations. But thanks to Wikileaks we know at least a little bit about what's likely in the deal.
To set the record straight, let's recap what the TPP will do:
- Allow corporations to sue governments if they pass laws that infringe on corporate profits, in a process called “investor-state dispute settlement";
- Roll back or water down Wall Street reforms, pushing for deregulation of banks and making it nearly impossible to ban risky financial schemes;
- Undermine access to affordable medicines for many people around the world, by mandating longer patents;
- Further incentivize a race-to-the-bottom for workers in all the countries signing the TPP;
- And a lot more that we don't even know, because it's all being negotiated behind closed doors.
We have a real shot at stopping this corporate handout, but we need to act fast. Please take a moment to email your representative now.
Senate compromise revives fast-track bill, but an uphill slog looms in House, The Washington Post, 14 May 2015
Obama's plans for trade deals with Asia and Europe in tatters after Senate vote, The Guardian, 12 May 2015