As information leaks about secret provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), opposition to the sovereignty-killing trade agreement is building in Congress. More than 150 House Democrats have publicly stated they oppose giving President Obama fast-track trade authority for TPP. It appears some in Congress have learned their lesson from NAFTA and the WTO – that “free trade” is a scam that destroys economies and turns all power over to transnational corporations who don’t give a damn about the host countries.
In a letter to President Obama, the lawmakers said White House trade promotion authority (TPA) would further limit their power to help shape the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade pacts, which have major domestic policy implications.
“Given our concerns, we will oppose ‘Fast Track’ Trade Promotion Authority or any other mechanism delegating Congress’ constitutional authority over trade policy that continues to exclude us from having a meaningful role in the formative stages of trade agreements and throughout negotiating and approval processes,” the letter reads.
The letter spells out a deep division between neoliberal Democrats like Obama and an increasingly progressive base of the Democratic Party. There is also the matter of separation of powers which was also mentioned in the letter. Members of Congress have been cut out of the negotiating process and denied access to documents.
“Unfortunately, in my view, it appears the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty will continue to move trade policy in the wrong direction,” DeLauro said. “It is past time for members of Congress, as representatives of the people, to reassert our authority when it comes to these trade agreements.”
The 150 plus House Democrats join a growing and bipartisan group of Congresspersons antagonistic towards the TPP and the concept of fast-track trade authority which, for all intense and purposes, cuts the legislative branch out of consulting on trade agreements, trade agreements that have become extremely substantive in matters related to sovereignty and national autonomy as well as economic destiny.
If anything, Congress should be revisiting agreements like NAFTA and the WTO. Something then candidate Obama promised to do. Free trade has been a disaster for the American economy and all but the top 1% of Americans. Which is not surprising given that “free trade” is, in truth, a euphemism for corporate control and rapacious exploitation of our resources, government, and politics.