Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
The final fight to stop fast track begins this week. The new trade promotion authority ("fast track") bill could be released in the Senate at any moment. (It might be out by the time you read this.)
Hatch and Wyden Poised to Introduce Bill
With literally zero reporting from the national TV networks and a virtual news blackout at most newspapers around the country, at least Politico sets the stage for insiders in their report, "Trade fight looms as Congress returns":
"Senate Finance Committee leaders Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden appear poised to introduce a 'fast track' trade promotion authority bill along with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. But months of closed-door negotiations were continuing on Friday, congressional aides said.
"The power, largely embraced by Republicans, pits many congressional Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and potentially Senate Democratic leader-in-waiting Charles Schumer, against the White House.
"The measure would allow President Barack Obama to submit free trade agreements to Congress for straight up or down votes without any amendments. It's seen as key to completing his signature 12-country trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact."
Fast track is, in essence, congressional pre-approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. With fast track, Congress agrees to give up much of its constitutional duty to define negotiating objectives, carefully deliberate and debate, and fix problems that might turn up. With fast track rendering Congress unable to fix flaws, even if any problems do turn up that might seriously hurt the country or our economy, a vote on the trade agreement will occur under the enormous pressure of the media blasting, "surely they won't just kill the whole thing over a few problems."
The idea is that allowing Congress (democratic government) to "meddle" will get in the way and keep other (non-democratic) countries from "making their best offers." Congress is considering this pre-approval of TPP and future trade agreements even though the national news media is not reporting on fast track or TPP, and Congress and the public haven't yet even seen the agreement (never mind had time to analyze it and consider its ramifications).
Week Of Action
The AFL-CIO is organizing a "Week of Action Against Fast Tracking Trade Deals."
On Wednesday at 11 am in Washington D.C.'s Upper Senate Park, more than 600 union members will rally at an event organized by the United Steelworkers (USW) on Capitol Hill. The rally will feature Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Al Franken (D-Minn.), Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), USW President Leo Gerard, AFL-CIO Executive VP Tefere Gebre, AFGE President J. David Cox, National Association of Letter Carriers President Fred Rolando, American Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer Loretta Johnson, and Sierra Club National Campaign Director Debbie Sease.
On Saturday, the AFL-CIO and its member unions are organizing over 50 events throughout the country in conjunction with hundreds of events planned as part of the global day of action in over a dozen countries.
A Monday story in The Hill, "Labor unions ramp up opposition to Obama trade agenda," has more on the Week of Action:
"Lawmakers, labor union leaders and their members will hold a rally Wednesday on Capitol Hill and follow that up with 50 grassroots events around the country and in more than a dozen countries on Saturday as part of the week-long effort. ...
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