Republican-controlled congress will not make passing Fast Track easier
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During his post-election news conference, President Obama said that he expects to cooperate with congressional Republicans on his trade agenda: a sentiment echoed by future Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Passing Fast Track trade promotion legislation as their first post-election act could hasten congressional approval of the environmentally destructive Trans Pacific Partnership–a massive trade pact with the Asia-Pacific region. Fast Track legislation would provide for an expedited up or down vote, disallowing amendments, on the TPP and other pending trade deals that undercut environmental and human rights safeguards.
Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, issued the following response:
President Obama would be naïve to believe that cooperation with Senator McConnell and Speaker Boehner will advance Fast Track and ultimately a TPP deal. Fast Track bills written by the Republican leadership and the U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman have cut Democrats out of the process and have alienated even pro-trade Democrats. A sizable bloc of principled House Republicans also objects to Fast Track legislation because it threatens the constitutional authority of Congress.
President Obama’s attempt to Fast Track the TPP also is inconsistent with his claims to be an environmental champion. He should be upholding environmental, climate and human rights safeguards, rather than backing trade deals that create a dangerous race to the bottom, here and around the globe.