Green Party to Democratic U.S. Senators: Don't reverse defeat of fast track for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party called on Democrats in the U.S. Senate not to reverse their defeat of fast-track trade authority for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

On Tuesday, May 12, Senate Democrats blocked passage of legislation to grant President Obama fast-track authority to promote the TPP, which Greens called a temporary victory for democracy and transparency.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced an agreement that would ease the way for fast track by allowing a separate legislative provision favored by Democrats. The provision targets currency manipulation by China and would allegedly prevent the loss of many manufacturing jobs (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/05/13/senate-reaches-deal-to-move-fast-track-trade-authority/).

"Intense pressure from advocates of fair trade, democracy, and environmental, public health, and labor protections led Democrats in the Senate to reject the first vote on fast track. The proposed legislative compromises are inadequate. It'll be a stinging betrayal if the same Democrats vote for a new fast-track bill, even with the new provision," said Jesse Townley, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Despite their initial votes against fast-track, many Democratic Senators support the TPP, the final vote for which is likely in early June. On Tuesday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.), one of the fast-track bill's sponsors, said that a group of Democratic leaders in the Senate are "thoroughly committed to getting this bill passed" (http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/wyden-key-democrats-will-vote-against-trade-bill-20150512).

 

Green Party leaders said that the TPP must either be defeated or be extensively renegotiated and amended so that it strengthens protections for jobs, labor rights, small businesses and farms, the environment, and public health.

 

The TPP, which Obama Administration negotiated in secret with the help of 600 "trade advisers" from powerful multinational corporations, would establish a mechanism to override democratically enacted laws by handing over legislative and judicial power to a small panel of corporate lawyers. Sections of the deal leaked by Wikileaks confirm these dangers (see "Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Environment Chapter," Wikileaks, January 15, 2014, https://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro/pressrelease.html).

 

The Green Party has consistently opposed the TPP, as well as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In 2012, Green presidential nominee Jill Stein warned about the TPP's dangers, while both President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney supported the trade deal and avoided mentioning it in speeches and debates.

 

Greens compared the TPP to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed into law by President Clinton in December, 1993, which according to the AFL-CIO caused the outsourcing of 700,000 American manufacturing jobs to Mexico.

 

International trade authorities empowered under "free trade" pacts have allowed participating countries to challenge each others' local and national efforts to implement clean, renewable energy technologies and conservation programs and government subsidies for them, because such ventures violate free-trade rules and constitute illegal protectionism and trade discrimination.

 

Author Naomi Klein has documented how trade pacts and authorities like the World Trade Organization have obstructed programs and environmental laws that would lower CO2 emissions in many nations ("Hot Money," Chapter 2, pp. 64-95, in "This Changes Everything," 2014). 

 

See also:

 

Green Party of the U.S. Speaks Out Against TPP, TTIP

By Scott McLarty, Global Greens News, May 4, 2015

http://www.globalgreens.org/news/us-greens-speak-out-against-ttp-ttip

 

Green Party: Obama's promotion of trade deals during his State of the Union undermines effort to curb climate change

Green Party press release, January 27, 2015

http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=773

 

Green Party demands publication of secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact drafts

Green Party press release, December 10, 2014

http://www.gp.org/newsroom/press-releases/details/4/756

 

Trading Away Our Climate? How Investment Rules Threaten the Environment and Climate Protection

The Sierra Club

http://action.sierraclub.org/site/DocServer/Investor-State-Climate-FINAL.pdf?docID=16661

 

 

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For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 14, 2015

Green Party to Democratic U.S. Senators: Don't reverse defeat of fast track for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

Green Party 2015 Annual National Meeting in St. Louis, Mo., July 23-26: http://2015greenpartyconvention.org

 

 

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