President Obama has formally requested Fast Track (Trade Promotion Authority) which will give him the power to negotiate and sign the TPP and avoid a democratic process in Congress. Fast Track sidesteps Congress’ constitutional authority to negotiate trade. Both the House and Senate will have to vote to give Obama Fast Track. Take action to let Congress know that they must not give up this power. Vote ‘No!” on Fast Track. We demand transparency and democracy on this huge agreement.
Immediate Action Items
The most important thing is that U.S. Representatives hear from you and others this week that their constituents oppose Fast Track for the TPP. Here’s how you can help:
As an individual: Please write your Members of Congress online now, and then follow-up with a phone call asking the Representative to oppose Fast Track for the TPP, which you can do through their local number or the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-4121. Once you’ve sent an email and made a call, work to get five of your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors to send an email or make a call. Once you’ve done that, you can also help by sending a Letter to the Editor and by speaking out against Fast Track for the TPP at a Congressional Town Hall event
As the representative of an organization: Please request a face-to-face meeting with your U.S. Representative now, urging them to oppose Fast Track for the TPP. Basic talking points are attached, and you can contact us an[email protected] if you need talking points better-tailored to your issue or Congressional district. You can also help by passing a resolution against Fast Track for the TPP and by urging your members to make calls at your next meeting and with an online action alert.
As a union member: Please ask for a couple of minutes on the agenda of your local Labor Day Picnic to give people an update about the TPP and Fast Track — ideally during a time when Members of Congress are in ear-shot. You can also urge your local, regional council or Central Labor Council to pass a resolution opposing Fast Track for the TPP and ensure that local leadership has called your House Member on this topic.
Other ideas for action can be found in our updated TPP & Fast Track Organizer’s Toolkit, as well as through these other groups’ online toolkits. And, as always, please send us updates on your progress or requests for additional information at [email protected]
Here is more information on Fast Track from Public Citizen:
“Fast Track” is the process that gives the executive branch the authority to negotiate and write trade agreements and delegates away Congress’ constitutional power to set the terms of U.S. trade policy. Fast Track creates special rules for considering trade agreements by allowing the executive branch to sign an agreement before Congress votes on it and only gives Congress 90 days to vote on the trade deal.
Under Fast Track, the president is authorized to negotiate trade agreements with foreign countries without consulting Congress or state legislators. After the executive branch locks down the terms of the deal and writes the implementing legislation, Congress is only permitted a yes or no vote, while states are virtually left out of the process. Thus, state and congressional officials elected to represent the public interest have no role in the process but to approve or disapprove the whole package.
Fast Track renewal was slipped through Congress at midnight in 2002 by only two votes. On June 30, 2007, the current grant of Fast Track, now called “Trade Promotion Authority” by its supporters, expired. Fast Track is not needed to approve trade agreements, a fact proven by the dozens of trade agreements that have been passed without its use (such as the Jordan FTA, China PNTR, etc.). Fast Track unnecessarily creates a situation where negotiators cannot be held accountable by the public, and legislators are denied their constitutional authority to set the terms of trade agreements.
In recent years, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has used Fast Track to push dozens of controversial pacts through Congress including: the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and dozens of trade agreements with countries such as Chile, Singapore, Morocco, Australia, Bahrain and Oman. Trade negotiations have been accelerated to an alarming speed, denying legislators and the public the appropriate time to consider the serious ramifications of these agreements.