Eight Illinois Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter to President Barack Obama stating their opposition to fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Rep. Danny K. Davis, who represents most of Oak Park, was one of those eight. Thank you, Rep. Davis.
Fast track is now referred to by the movers and shakers in the international trade policy world as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). It cedes power over U.S. trade deals from the House to the executive branch. The Constitution grants oversight of international trade deals to the House of Representatives. Congress must willingly abrogate its responsibility to allow passage of TPP.
Fast track authority brought us the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a disaster for workers and the environment in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, but a boon to transnational corporations. After NAFTA was enacted, the U.S. trade balance with Mexico went from surplus to deep deficit and people on both sides of that border lost their livelihood.
According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA cost Illinois 35,000 jobs. This is the fast track to poverty and all that brings with it.
The TPP is being negotiated behind our backs and behind the backs of our elected delegates in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. If fast track is allowed, our elected officials will be presented with a final document from President Obama and his team of neo-liberal economists and told to vote "yes" or "no" with no debate and no amendments.
Many transnational corporations have contributed to the text of the TPP. To investigate this malodorous cauldron of transnational corporate malevolence, visit www.citizen.org/tpp and www.flushthetpp.org.
I want to thank each of the Illinois Democrats for publicly opposing this threat to democracy and national security: Bobby L. Rush, Robin Kelly, Daniel Lipinski, Luis Gutierrez, Danny K. Davis, Jan Schakowsky, Cheri Bustos and William Enyart.
Co-chair, Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America