The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators are holding closed-door meetings in Australia this week and next.
President Barack Obama wants to announce a TPP deal when he’s in Asia for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in mid-November. So U.S. negotiators are looking to finalize the 12-country deal despite mounting evidence that this dangerous corporate fantasy should not be completed — now or ever.
As negotiators rush to meet Obama’s arbitrary deadline, some members of Congress are seeking to revive Fast Track in the upcoming lame-duck session after the elections.
Fast Track would allow the president to sign the TPP without congressional approval and then railroad the deal through Congress in only 90 days with limited debate and no amendments. Congress — which has constitutional authority over trade — would be forced into an up-or-down vote on the TPP with no opportunity to change the dangerous parts of the deal.
We cannot allow this to happen.
The TPP threatens to impose binding, retrograde rules on non-trade matters that affect our daily lives — undermining food safety, restricting Internet freedom, raising medication prices, rolling back financial regulations and anti-fracking policies, and more.
Some members of Congress are working on a replacement for Fast Track, a so-called “Smart Track.” It is not yet clear if this will be the real Fast Track replacement we so desperately need, or just another anti-democratic Fast Track in disguise.
A real replacement for Fast Track would guarantee Congress a steering wheel and an emergency brake for runaway “trade” deals. For example, Congress should be able to vote to approve an agreement before it is signed by the president.