Today the House of Representatives took another vote on Trade Promotion Authority or “Fast Track.” It was a close vote but proponents prevailed 218-208.
Fast Track is the bill needed to give the President authority to move forward with the negotiating free trade policies such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It is the way Congress says, “we trust your judgment and don’t need to see the details first.” But we do need to see the details first! Previous trade agreements like NAFTA have had devastating effects on farmers, working families, and the environment. Future trade policies need to be fair, not fast.
Because this bill was different from the bill the Senate passed already, it will need to go back to the Senate next week for reconsideration there.
The House members who opposed the bill spoke to the need for a fair trade and a fair process, echoing what labor rights, environmental, and sustainable agriculture NGOs as well as committed business allies have been saying for years. Unfortunately proponents are following the money and listening to corporate lobbyists over the will of the people. (Representatives who voted for Fast Track have taken 91% more money from corporations backing the trade deals Fast Track will usher in.)
Although the Senate has already passed a version of this bill once, there are also strong champions of fair trade within the Senate.