Oregon Progressive Party Opposes Fast Track for TPP

The Oregon Progressive Party's monthly membership meeting approved this statement of opposition to fast tracking of the the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, because it sets "binding policy on Congress and state legislatures relating to patents and copyright, food safety, government procurement, financial regulation, immigration, healthcare, energy, the environment, labor rights and more."

Dear Representative or Senator:
 
The undersigned organizations urge you to oppose “The Bipartisan Congressional Trade
Priorities Act” (HR 3830).  This legislation would revive the outdated and unsound 2002
“Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority mechanism.  
 
Indeed, the legislation replicates the broad delegation of Congress’ constitutional authorities
that was provided in the 2002 Fast Track, undermining Congress’ ability to have a
meaningful role in shaping the contents of trade agreements.   
 
The legislation includes several negotiation objectives not found in the 2002 Fast Track.
However, the Fast Track process that this legislation would reestablish ensures that these
objectives are entirely unenforceable.  If this bill were enacted, the president could sign a
trade agreement before Congress votes on it — whether or not the negotiating objectives
have been met.   It would also allow the executive branch to write legislation not subject to
committee markup that would implement the pact and alter existing U.S. laws so that they
come into compliance with the rules of the trade agreement.   Additionally, if HR 3830 were
enacted, trade pact implementing legislation would be guaranteed House and Senate votes
within 90 days, with all floor amendments forbidden and a maximum of 20 hours of debate.
 
Fast Track was designed in the 1970s when trade negotiations were focused on cutting
tariffs and quotas.  Today’s pending “trade” agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are much
broader — setting binding policy on Congress and state legislatures relating to patents and
copyright, food safety, government procurement, financial regulation, immigration,
healthcare, energy, the environment, labor rights and more.  Such a broad delegation of
Congress’ constitutional authorities is simply inappropriate given the scope of the pending
“trade” agreements and the implications for Congress’ core domestic policymaking
prerogatives.
 
After decades of devastating job loss, attacks on environmental and health laws and floods
of unsafe imported food under our past trade agreements, America must chart a new course
on trade policy.  To accomplish this, a new form of trade authority is needed that ensures
that Congress and the public play a much more meaningful role in determining the contents
of U.S. trade agreements. Critically, such a new procedure must ensure that Congress is
satisfied with a trade agreement’s contents before a pact can be signed and subjected to any
expedited procedures.
 
HR 3830 is an abrogation of not only Congress’ constitutional authority, but of its
responsibility to the American people.  We oppose this bill, and urge you to do so as well.

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