News Release

Despite Public Opposition, Obama and Republicans Ramming “Fast Track” Through

The Los Angeles Times is reporting: “President Obama’s fast-track trade bill cleared a key procedural hurdle Tuesday in the Senate, all but ensuring it will win final passage this week and be sent to the White House for his signature.

“Despite deep reservations from many in the president’s party, enough Democratic senators appear ready to join most Republicans to finish the legislation, which has sputtered in Congress but is a top White House priority.”

A CBS/New York Times poll released in June found a majority oppose what the Congress and the President are pushing. [See question 29]

MANUEL PÉREZ-ROCHA, [in D.C.] manuel at ips-dc.org
Manuel Pérez-Rocha helps to coordinate the Networking for Justice on Global Investment project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

He said today: “The vote is a disappointment in the eyes of all those in the world concerned about U.S. corporate expansionism. … But these moves have also helped cement a global solidarity movement on how so-called trade deals push through corporate agendas. This global solidarity movement needs to stop these deals — which has happened before — and start developing structures of new global relationships that drive standards upward.”

Pérez-Rocha wrote the working paper “TTIP — Why the World Should Beware,” which states: “The trade and investment partnership TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), which is currently being negotiated between the EU and the U.S., will affect the whole world. But the other world regions, like the BRICS or the Global South are being excluded from the trade negotiations and hardly get attention in the debates around TTIP. This trend is shifting today: because TTIP as an ‘economic NATO’ is putting the rise of the BRICS, especially China and Russia, into relation with a looming ‘descent of Europe.’ According to the negotiating partners, the economic rise of the BRICS has to be prevented. But at what price?

“TTIP is a threat not only for the EU and the U.S., but for the whole world. Ultimately TTIP would serve as an instrument to the economic and political elites of the West to maintain their hegemonic power and dominance. The price is to be paid by the people in the Global North as well as in the Global South.”

Pérez-Rocha wrote the articles “NAFTA Pushes Many Mexicans to Migrate” and “NAFTA’s 20 Years of Unfulfilled Promises: The trade deal has become an engine of poverty in Mexico.”

MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D., mdpnhp at gmail.com, @MFlowers8
KEVIN ZEESE, kbzeese at gmail.com, @kbzeese
Zeese and Flowers are with Popular Resistance, which is part of the Stop Fast Track coalition. They are leading protests outside the Capitol.

Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance, said today: “The Obama trade agenda that Congress is considering fast tracking through Congress will lower wages, export jobs, increase the wealth divide and increase the trade deficit. This is the consistent history of trade agreements written for trans-national corporations. They benefit big business interests at the expense of the people and planet. Senators who vote for Fast Track are driving the race to the bottom for the U.S. economy and voters need to know they are the reason our downward decline.”

Flowers, also co-director of Popular Resistance, stated: “The international treaties being negotiated by the president go beyond trade to impact every area of our lives. They will raise the costs of health care, undermine food safety, lead to more poisoning of the water, land and air and worsen the climate crisis. Additionally, the ISDS [Investor-State Dispute Settlement] provisions mean that we will not be able to enact laws that protect our health and safety even at the local level.”