The following blog has been cross-posted from CWA's Reistence Growing blog. The original post is available online here.
Today leaders in Congress joined labor, faith, environmental and consumer leaders to speak out against "Fast Track" authority.
Expected to be unveiled early this year, Fast Track would give President Obama the power to ram trade agreements through Congress with little debate or transparency. It would also ensure the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a twelve-nation, NAFTA-style trade pact that could threaten American jobs, environmental regulations, food safety and more.
Cohen promised, "We're prepared in every district to work as a coalition." He added, "We must negotiate trade deals that work for tens of millions of Americans, not just hundreds of corporations."
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, said, “Fast Track is the wrong way to process treaties, especially trade agreements. We know from experience with CAFTA that Fast Track did not allow other non-negotiators to raise concerns about the impact of the agreement on rural central America. The fact that we had a wave of children on our southern border is related in part to the terms and conditions of CAFTA. This was predicted as NAFTA had fueled Mexican migration. Yet there was no forum to raise these concerns. What are the consequences that negotiators are blind to this time? Only an open, public debate can ensure that other perspectives are fully considered. Fast Track keeps us blind to consequences."
Debbie Sease, federal campaign director of the Sierra Club, told the crowd, "Trade should be done right -- not just fast -- to protect our families and neighbors from pollution and climate disruption. Fast tracking flawed trade is a deal-breaker. With fast track, we would be trading away clean air, clean water, and safe communities."