Speak Out Now! Stop Fast Track!

by Nancy Price and Marybeth Gardam, Earth Democracy Leadership Team Members

Last Thursday, January 9, Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced legislation to Congress to grant Pres. Obama Trade Promotion Authority, known as “Fast Track Authority (FTA).”

This Thursday, January 16, the Senate Finance Committee may hold the first hearing on the bill (S1900). There is no hearing yet in the House because no Democrat has come forward to sponsor the legislation (HR3830). Let's keep it that way.

We must stop Fast Track in both the Senate and the House, and stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)! In the House, a new Congressional TPP Caucus that supports Fast Track and "free" trade has formed to help Pres. Obama twist the arm of Congress.

The TPP means lost jobs and it is poison for local community resilliance. Furthermore, the newly leaked "Environment Chapter" shows the lengths Pres. Obama is willing to get a deal on the TPP. The environment looses and corporations win.

But widespread opposition to Fast Track keeps growing! 

JOIN THE CHORUS! Please take these three actions now. Let’s not let Fast Track and the TPP trump Democracy.

  1. Call and email both your senators AND representative today. We must focus on the House. Find their DC phone number here by clicking on your state map. Then sign this Citizens Trade Campaign petition to send an email to your representative and senators opposing the Baucus-Camp Track Bill. 
  2. Write an Op-Ed or a Letter to the Editor for your local paper. See resources below.
  3. Join with others to plan an action for the Inter-Continental Day of Action on January 31. For four years-plus, Pres. Obama has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with no congressional participation or authorization. Yet Congress has sole constitutional authority “to regulate trade with foreign Nations” (Commerce Clause, Article I, Section 8). While we have been excluded, 600 corporate lobbyists have had access to the text and trade negotiators. Only recently have our elected representatives, even those with top security clearances, been permitted to read the text, but only on condition they not discuss it publicly.


Fast Track Authority allows Obama to railroad Congress.

The President wants Fast Track in order to cut deals with the other TPP country negotiators on sensitive areas of trade without fear that the TPP will be changed by Congress, and to railroad the TPP and other upcoming “free trade” agreements through Congress. Congress must assert its constitutional authority over the TPP and the upcoming Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Obama must submit the TPP to

Congress under the regular legislative process so that Congress and we the people have time to read, debate AND mobilize to stop the TPP from becoming a reality. 

The TPP is more than "NAFTA on steroids." The TPP is actually stage three of the developing system of corporate rule. It drastically expands NAFTA with three new features that consolidate and extend the global corporate empire and corporate rule by “free” trade agreement. These are: 1) More provisions that corporations can use to claim that their investor rights to future profits have been harmed; 2) A mandate for  “Regulatory Coherence” requiring that each country create a domestic bureaucratic structure to conform all their agencies’ regulations to a corporate-friendly, regulatory framework; and 3) a “docking” provision so other countries can join after the original 12 now negotiating. 

This effort must be stopped. The TPP includes the same investor-rights as NAFTA. It puts corporations in the driver’s seat. Don’t let our national, state and local sovereignty and democratic rights be further eroded and replaced by corporate rule!

What is Fast Track?

If Congress passes this Fast Track bill, it will give away its constitutional authority to oversee trade. Under Fast Track, the normal legislative process of Congress is severely limited:

  • for such a complex bill, there is limited or no discussion in committees and very limited debate on the House and Senate floors. The TPP text will be long and technically complex in many areas: intellectual property, including the internet and medicine; agriculture, public health and much more that affect our everyday lives (the NAFTA text was 2,000 pages);
  • no amendments are allowed;
  • only a simple majority up or down (yes or no) vote is required.

  1. Nancy Price, “Global Corporate Empire: Corporate Rule by 'Free' Trade Agreement.”
  2. Op-Ed: Nancy Price, “Why you should be concerned about the TPP agreement,” Davis Enterprise, Dec. 15, 2013.
  3. Op-Ed: “Pacific trade would do more harm than good: Guest Opinion,” by Madelyn Elder, The Oregonian, Nov. 12, 2013.
  4. Op-Ed: “A corporate coup against American interests,” by Jonathan M. Ruga and Rocky Anderson, The Salt Lake Tribune, January 3, 2014.