ICYMI: Massive Bi-Partisan Opposition on Capitol Hill to Fast Track Trade Authority
TPP Trade Agreement Faces Uphill Struggle After 194 of House Members Sign Letters Calling for More Congressional Involvement
Washington, DC – As negotiations for the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement enter a critical stage, the Obama Administration suddenly faces an uphill struggle to pass the massive and highly-secretive trade pact. In the past 48 hours, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and from every corner of the country have stated their opposition to granting so-called fast-track authority. The authority would strip Congress of their authority to debate and approve trade legislation.
To date, 194 Congressmen have signaled their opposition to granting fast track trade authorization. No major trade pact has been approved by Congress in recent decades without such authority.
Copies of the letters opposing fast track trade promotion authority can be found here, here and here.
“This bipartisan outpouring of opposition to fast-track authority validates what we Teamsters have been saying all along – Congress should not approve any trade deal without a fair hearing,” Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa said. “If the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other proposed agreements are so good for America, why do they need to be kept secret?”
- “Strongly worded letters to President Barack Obama Tuesday were signed by hardline tea partiers, true-blue progressives, and moderate, corporate-friendly lawmakers in both parties, indicating political trouble for a trade deal the administration had hoped to seal by year end.”
- “The GOP letter includes signatures from tea party stalwarts like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), along with moderate members whose tenure in Congress dates to the 1990s. A coalition of New Democrats and progressives — who typically take opposite positions on free-trade deals — pressed the same theme in a separate letter.”
- “Others say that they are upset that the Obama administration has, in their view, kept Congress in the dark about the negotiations, by not allowing congressional aides to observe the negotiations and declining to make certain full texts available.”
- “Other members have signaled their opposition independently, meaning that roughly 40 percent to 50 percent of House members have signaled, sight unseen, that they do not support the regional trade pact.”
- “But in order to secure the deal, President Barack Obama says he needs Congress to grant him permission to sign the final trade agreement, which Congress has not yet seen, without congressional input. A coalition of about 174 conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats in the House signaled this week they would likely vote against giving those trade powers to the president.”
- “If a couple dozen more lawmakers join the unlikely group of Dems and GOPers, the House could have enough votes to shoot down fast-track and derail the TPP.”
- “Tea Party Joins Liberals in Push Against Fast-Track Trade”
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