WASHINGTON – The Hill reports: “GOP, Obama on cusp of fast-track trade victory.” “House Republicans have set the stage for a high-stakes vote Friday to grant President Obama fast-track trade authority.”
PATRICK WOODALL,pwoodall at fwwatch.org, @foodandwater
Research director and senior policy advocate for Food & Water Watch, Woodall said today: “With Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership now on its way to the House floor, it’s time for our Representatives to stand up to the so-called free trade attacks on common sense protections for public health, the environment and consumers. Fast Track will unleash havoc on American workers, offshore millions more jobs, and exacerbate the economic inequality that widens the gulf between economic ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’
“Fast Track would even make it harder for American consumers to know the ingredients and origins of their food because even a label can be considered a trade barrier. Free trade deals like the TPP have been used to attack straightforward food labeling like the country of origin labeling (COOL) laws for beef, pork and chicken. The Fast Track legislation specifically identifies labeling genetically modified foods (GMO labels) as illegitimate trade barriers. All this and more is tucked into the secret fine print of the TPP. The Congress must reject a Fast Track for the secret TPP that will harm workers, the environment and consumers.”
ALAN TONELSON, ATonelson at aol.com, @alantonelson
Tonelson is author of The Race to the Bottom: Why A Global Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are Sinking American Living Standards. His recent pieces include “Trade deals have been both growth and recovery killers.” He regularly writes on trade and other issues on his RealityChek blog.
SEAN FLYNN, sflynn at wcl.american.edu, @sean_fiil_flynn
Flynn is associate director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the Washington College of Law at American University. He contributes to infojustice.org and just wrote the piece “TPP Leak Clarifies Application to Medicare Drug Prices,” which states: “Two previous agreements – with Korea and with Australia – contained restrictions on drug pricing programs, but were often thought not to apply to any U.S. program. The texts of those agreements left any U.S. application ambiguous. But new language in the TPP leak makes clear the application of disciplines to ‘The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), with respect to CMS’s role in making Medicare national coverage determinations.’”
MICHAEL BRUNE, via Dan Byrnes, daniel.byrnes at sierraclub.org, @sierraclub
Sierra Club executive director Brune said: “This fast-track bill is toxic for Congress and for our air, water, and climate. We’ve seen this all before. This bill replicates an old, failed model of trade authority that rushes deals through Congress and strips out the vital protections and oversight that ensure trade pacts benefit American communities, workers, and the environment. Americans who care about clean air and clean water won’t support a bill that takes away the ability of those we elected to protect our basic needs. Members of Congress need to carefully evaluate the costs and consequences of trade deals on our economy and environment – not to haphazardly push pacts over the finish line. That’s why we are calling on members of Congress to take back the reins on trade and toss aside the failed fast track model.”
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