On December 5th, I sent an email to Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV2) regarding my concerns as to “fast-tracking” the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently being negotiated in secrecy behind closed doors:
I view the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a secret “trade” deal being negotiated behind closed doors by the governments of a dozen countries (including ours) colluding with corporate interests. And, as I currently understand its terms, it could devastate the internet freedom we’ve grown to love and use to complete many transactions we currently enjoy living in rural areas. But even worse, unsafe foods and products could pour into our country while we’re powerless to stop them. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
My greatest concern is that it is being set up for the “fast-track,” which would short-circuit the typical legislative process when trade deals like the TPP come up for a vote. Fast-track trade authority would allow ANY president to sign a trade deal before Congress has had an opportunity to review or approve it. Then, that president could send it to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Fast track would mean there would be no meaningful hearings, limited debate and absolutely no amendments to the deal. Plus, there would be tremendous pressure on Congress to rubber-stamp whatever that president signs.
It’s the job of Congress to fully vet trade deals and ensure they work for everyone, not just giant corporations. Authorizing “fast tracking” would be a deeply irresponsible abdication of responsibility by Congress when we know the TPP is coming down the pike, especially when we know the consequences of the TPP could be disastrous.
The Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority over trade. But, my understanding is that the text of the TPP is considered so highly classified that even members of Congress have been given only extremely limited access to it. The little that we do know about the deal has come from drafts of some of its chapters that have been leaked.
The United States of America is a DEMOCRACY, not a CORPORATOCRACY. I urge you to oppose ANY AND ALL “fast-track” measures that would allow Congress to abdicate its role in assuring trade policies such as the TPP are truly appropriate trade policy for the PEOPLE of our nation.
Today, I got his response in my inbox:
As you know, the United States is currently in negotiations on the TPP trade agreement, which would promote trade with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Advocates for membership contend the TPP would facilitate trade and investment of U.S. made products, while promoting intellectual property rights, increasing transparency, and reducing government corruption. Those opposed argue that the TPP will impact our nation’s ability to compete in a global market.
As a Member of Congress, it is among my highest priorities to work hard for Nevada’s economy and promote job growth within the state. In this time of economic uncertainty in the world market, the United States and our workers cannot be left behind. Free and fair trade can help promote peace and security, as well as create important new economic opportunities and jobs for American businesses and workers. It is imperative for U.S. companies to have access to consumers throughout the world and that we fight to open up foreign markets to ensure Americans have equal access to foreign markets. Furthermore, it is important the global markets which U.S. companies compete in are as open as our own here at home.
Isolating our markets from the world will only hinder job growth and cause the United States to slip as the world’s economic leader. Consequently, it is also my intention to support other agreements that will bring the United States closer to a duty-free hemisphere. I believe that free markets encourage job growth at home. Congress has the responsibility to ensure the United States and its workers have access to emerging markets that will allow us to remain a leading force in the world market.
At the same time, we cannot have free trade unless it truly a mutual benefit for all participating nations. I understand the need to protect working American families from the adverse effects of new free trade agreements. Rest assured, I will continue to monitor these agreements and the effect that this agreement will have on the American those people under our partnerships. As Congress exercises review and oversight authority in this matter, I will certainly keep your concerns in mind.
I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to apprise me of your opinions and hope that you will contact me again should you have any further comments or concerns. If you would like additional information on my activities in the House, please visit my website, www.Amodei.house.gov or connect with me on facebook.com/MarkAmodeiNV2 and twitter.com/MarkAmodeiNV2.
In closing, please know that I consider it a privilege to serve and represent you and your family in Congress.
Given the GOP’s propensity to “fast-track” everything for corporate advantage over the commoners, and that Rep. Amodei seiously toes the GOP line, somehow, I don’t feel all that confident that Rep. Amodei “will certainly keep (my) concerns in mind.”