Baucus and Camp introduce legislation to rush trade deals past Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Representative Dave Camp (R-Mich.), introduced “Fast Track” or trade promotion authority legislation today. If approved, Fast Track could expedite congressional approval of two massive trade deals without amendment or proper consideration. The Trans Atlantic and Trans Pacific trade agreements, both of which are currently under negotiation by the Obama adminstration, would allow big oil companies and Wall Street financiers to sue for millions in compensation for the cost of complying with environmental and other regulations. More generally, the Atlantic and Pacific trade deals would trump sensible safeguards related to food safety, toxic chemicals, and global warming. If Fast Track is approved, these trade deals could be rammed through Congress.
The Baucus-Camp bill hands over to the executive branch powers that the founders intended for Congress to exercise, including:
- The power to circumvent ordinary congressional committee review and directly submit the legislation for mandatory and expedited floor votes in the House and Senate;
- The power to override House and Senate control of their schedules for floor votes; and
- The power to ban any amendments to a trade agreement.
Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, had this to say about the introduction of the Baucus–Camp bill for trade promotion authority:
“The Baucus–Camp Fast Track bill turns the U.S. Constitution upside down. Congress must not give away its constitutional authority and facilitate the ratification of an environmentally destructive Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.”