It looks like the heat got too hot for a lot of members of Congress as negotiations continue on what is being billed by some as the biggest slug to the gut of American families since NAFTA.
This time it’s the Trans Pacific Partnership Act, and the rivers of opposition have lately been swamping public opinion on what has been a 100% secret, behind-closed-doors discussion of what future trade policies, rules and restrictions may be in store for the U.S. depending on what the new treaty actually contains.
Senator Ron Wyden has seen a major revolt among his own Oregon supporters who are tired of all the secrecy and small pieces of information leaking out – which by themselves have set brush fires of public outrage at what those bits and pieces represent.
Here’s an editorial written by Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer: Click here.
This week, Congress is taking the most definitive steps yet towards approving Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), or what you might have heard referred to as “fast-track authority.”
It’s important because it will determine how President Obama and future Presidents negotiate an important trade agreement – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – as well as future trade deals.
I know that trade is always controversial, but I can report to you that I have successfully fought to include critical new protections as part of the TPA.
This new TPA framework means that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will represent a real opportunity for workers in Oregon and around the country. We know that tens of thousands of small businesses depend on exports to succeed.
Foreign companies have a much easier time selling goods here than Oregon businesses do selling their goods overseas. That needs to change, and I’ve fought to ensure the TPA will take us there.
But we didn’t stop there. I fought to level the playing field between American businesses and global competitors, so that everyone involved upholds our progressive values and basic American principles.
To that end, I helped secure critical protections for labor rights, the environment, and fundamental human rights as part of the TPA. We can demand a trade deal that protects our values in a measurable and enforceable way, rather than merely paying lip service to them.
This TPA instructs the President that human rights are a core negotiating objective of our trade agreements – for the first time in history.
It requires our trading partners to adopt and maintain international labor standards, raising the bar for workers around the world.
Trade deals we make will insist that other nations live up to international environmental agreements, attacking overfishing, illegal logging and other threats to the planet.
Defending and expanding a free and open internet becomes central to our trade policy – ensuring that we don’t allow repressive regimes to break up the internet into country-sized pieces, and rejects policies like those found in PIPA and SOPA.
And finally, this TPA requires that no trade agreement can override U.S. law without congressional approval, and that trade agreements are made available to the public for 60 days before the President signs it – a level of transparency that we’ve never had before.
On balance this agreement represents trade done right for workers and businesses here in Oregon and all across America.