Statement: Fast Track Bill Strips Transparency, Restricts Democratic Process

Lawmakers introduced a bill granting President Obama the power to move a trade agreement quickly through Congress, called “fast track” trade authority. BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster reacts to the legislation.

January 9, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (January 9, 2014) – Today, lawmakers introduced a bill granting President Obama the power to move a trade agreement quickly through Congress, called “fast track” trade authority. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster on the legislation:

“The BlueGreen Alliance has grave concerns with the ‘fast track’ trade authority being advanced as a means of moving the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement through Congress quickly, with a minimum of public transparency and input. Fast track is a rarely used Nixon-era procedure that strips Congress’ right to review the contents of a trade pact to discern whether it would promote fair trade, not just free trade. Fast track authority allows only limited debate, prevents any amendments being made to a proposed agreement, supersedes normal Senate and House rules that encourage transparent debate, and allows only an up or down vote, which must be carried out within a short, inflexible time period.

“Two of the founding positions of the BlueGreen Alliance were supporting bargaining rights and taking on the challenge of climate change and it is only the democratic process that allows us to make the progress we need to make. Fast track has the potential to destroy any positive movement we’ve achieved on either addressing climate change or supporting workers’ rights, as it is a direct attack on democracy. Trade deals drafted with no non-government organization participation, and where elected Members of Congress have no real role, can threaten environmental sustainability, the limited rights for U.S. workers that now remain, and America’s fragile manufacturing and tradable service sectors.”