|Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, America’s insanely high drug prices could get even higher.|
As big-business lobbyists promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) behind closed doors, skeptical lawmakers, labor and human rights activists mobilized in Washington, DC.
WATCH: TPP Day of Dissent
“The American people deserve transparent trade, green trade and trade that empowers them,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). “Trade that will grow our economy, not take us down a path towards more suffering.”
On Capitol Hill, emotional members of Congress voiced their criticism of the secretly struck anti-worker, trade deal. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was visibly angry after reading its contents.
“The agreement will lead to employment losses in all countries, with the United States hardest hit with a loss of almost a half-million jobs,” said DeLauro. “Congress needs to stop this job-killing agreement.”
Just down the street, human rights activists were handcuffed and arrested during a TPP protest. Demonstrators warned the public about the cleverly hidden dangers of the trade deal.
“It blocks competition for medicines that patients need to stay alive,” said Public Citizen International Campaigns Director Melinda St. Louis. “When you don’t have competition, you can charge whatever you want.”
The IAM has staunchly opposed the TPP, which was secretly planned by the President’s trade representatives. The deal was negotiated and struck with strong influence from multi-national corporations that have no allegiance to North American workers, or the workers of any other nation.
“Despite the U.S. Trade Representative’s repeated rhetoric that this agreement reflects international labor standards,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez in a statement. “The TPP fails to include the International Labor Organization Conventions which explicitly define basic human rights.”
Although signed by the White House’s trade representative, the TPP still needs to win ratification from Congress. Lawmakers from both parties have sharply criticized the pact, which has raised the prospect that the White House could lose the support of allies who had earlier backed the president’s trade deal.