Fast Track Moves Forward, Focus Turns To TPP

IAM members and others protest outside a regional office of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) before a crucial vote on “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority. Cardin voted against the measure on Tuesday.

The U.S. Senate narrowly approved a measure Tuesday that virtually assures a final passage of “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other potential trade deals. The Fast Track legislation allows the administration to present free trade deals, such as TPP, to Congress for an up-or-down vote with no opportunity to offer amendments. Votes on the still-secret TPP and dubious aid for workers displaced by trade deals are yet to come.

“While today’s vote is being celebrated in corporate boardrooms, the American people have made it clear they are mobilized and engaged on trade,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “A formidable coalition of the labor movement and those energized by faith, human rights, the environment, and internet freedom will now turn its attention to stopping TPP. “We have strong reasons to believe this secretly negotiated trade pact will not look good in the light of day. We also have grave concerns about the loss of American jobs, the troubling Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, and TPP’s impact on prescription drugs. We intend to have a robust debate and real accountability on these issues and more.”