One of the things notably and happily absent from President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week was any push for the pro-corporate/globalization agenda found in the move to revive “Fast Track” and approve the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). About which, all a caring and thinking person can say is “thank goodness.”
As explained in this commentary from last October (“NAFTA on Steroids?”), the TPP is a potentially grave threat to the well-being of American workers and consumers and our national security itself. By ceding democratic powers to corporations and international tribunals, the TPP threatens to subject American labor, environmental and consumer protections to being overruled and dismantled as unlawful restraints on trade. Meanwhile “Fast Track” is an already discredited idea that would bestow powers on the President to unilaterally negotiate and control trade agreements that has been appended on to TPP legislation in Congress.
The President’s failure to promote the proposal is being hailed by opponents as an extremely positive sign — especially given the public opposition of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. According to the good folks at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch program:
“Corporate interests were fiercely lobbying for President Obama to dedicate serious time in this speech to pushing Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership in order to try to overcome broad congressional and public opposition to both, but instead he made only a passing reference that largely repeated his past statements.
With almost no House Democratic support for Fast Track, a bloc of GOP “no” votes and public opposition making congressional phones ring off the hook, high-profile treatment of the issue was considered necessary to revive any prospect that Fast Track could be passed in this Congress.
Opposition has been growing to the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. Implementing this NAFTA-on-steroids deal would undermine Obama’s efforts to battle income inequality. It would be like drilling a hole in a boat just as you are trying to seal the cracks that are letting the water in.”
That said, both TPP and Fast Track are far from dead and advocacy efforts in opposition continue — especially with respect to progressive House lawmakers like North Carolina’s David Price.
Today is actually an “Intercontinental Day of Action” against the Fast Track/TPP proposal with large rallies and events taking place throughout North America. To learn more about these efforts, click here to visit the website of the group Trade Justice Network and here to visit the site “Expose the TPP.”