Wednesday, June 3 is a National Day of Action on Fast-Track and the TPP.
Call Rep. Brad Ashford:
VOTE NO on Fast-Track & TPPP
CALL NOW: 1-202-225-4155 -or- 402-916-5678
Let us know how your call went in the comments!
Lately on radio talk shows and MSNBC you will hear segments about the “TPP” or “Fast-Track.” So, when I got a call last week from the Communications Workers Union asking if I could come to a meeting about the issue, I eagerly accepted to see what Bold could do to learn more.
Below is what we call “a long read!” But, get a cup of coffee, take a few minutes and then ACT by contacting your House Member and coming to the rally on Saturday.
TPP is big policy decision and we did our best to research the issue and bring some information to the Bold community. The trade deal is complicated and Pres. Obama—who so far has been great on our key issue KXL pipeline—supports the trade deal. We have major questions and wanted you to have some more info as well. Right now the details of TPP are 100% secret. Maybe if the deal comes out and the concerns laid out below are addressed we would feel differently. For now, we stand with the organizations like Farmers Union, Sierra Club, 350.org and CWA that have stood with us and the landowners on the pipeline.
What is TPP and why should we care?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP) is described as the largest trade deal that would make up 40% of the world’s economy and open up trade among 12 countries (United States, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Peru with the possibility of China).
With all of these countries and all of this money on the table, of course Big Banks, Big Oil, Big Pharma are all involved lobbying and pushing for what should be included in this new trade deal.
Whose not in the room? People like you and me. The deal is being negotiated behind closed doors with no transparency, feedback or standards for a framework on real fixes to fair and responsible trade like currency manipulation fixes, human rights standards, water protections and advantages for family farmers and ranchers (you know small vs big for once).
Sometimes the TPP is referred to as “Fast-Track” because it would give the President authority (not just Pres. Obama, any president of the US and other countries) to make deals in secret without any debate or public disclosure.
If you like videos rather than reading, watch this 2-minute video from Robert Reich on TPP:
The Problems With TPP:
As you know, Bold Nebraska is a strong believer in Sovereignty. TPP means the US Constitution and other laws we have in our country would go out the window for an international tribunal they are calling “Investor State Dispute Settlement.” The World Bank and the UN Tribunals, staffed by private lawyers, are the ones who would hear the cases. Whose to say that land, privately owned, won’t be up for grabs in ways we are not even thinking of right now. Eminent domain is already a huge issue in our country where a foreign government wanting to build a pipeline can use that power for what used to only be for “public purpose” projects but is now being used for private gain. Think about when foreign countries get more power and when they can sue our government for “loss of profit.”
Making Big Oil clean up their mess is already hard. Just look at the BP or Kalamazoo spills where families and small businesses are still battling to get fair compensation for health issues and loss of business.Under the deal, fracking and the use of coal would increase. The US Department of Energy would be legally bound to approve all new natural gas export projects. This has nothing to do with American “energy independence” like some are trying to pass the TPP off as helping. TPP means more risks to our water supplies.
Protection for workers is absent from the deal. Some who think the TPP is a good idea have incorrectly stated that this trade deal includes protections for workers unlike other trade deals like NAFTA. Well, we wish and hope that is true, but none of the leaked secret documents on the trade deal so far have shown strong worker protections.
Unions support policies and projects that are good for their workers. Every single union is against the TPP; they all think it’s a bad idea.
Rules that require federal and state governments to “Buy America” for certain products will be cancelled because foreign countries could sue saying this is an unfair advantage. Imagine that for one minute, China sues America because we wanted to choose an American company for a project.
Agriculture and Exports
Usually when these trade deals come up you hear one thing over and over again, “more exports, more jobs.” The problem is the past trade deals have shown us this is not true. According to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, “the surge in the U.S. trade deficit with Korea under the FTA equates to the loss of nearly 85,000 American jobs, according to the trade-jobs ratio that the administration used to promise job gains from the deal.”
The National Farmers Union President said it best, “Fast Track allows the president to negotiate these agreements in secret and then present them to Congress for an up or down vote, with any and all amendments forbidden. Trade agreements that lack transparency should raise everyone’s eyebrows.”
If you like the idea of food labeling—letting you know where your meat is from for example—then you will hate the TPP. And since the FDA is so under staffed they already are only checking 2% of the food imports from other countries, imagine when TPP gets started and countries flood the market with food that does not have the same health standards as our country. Think lots more e-coli and salmonella.
Big Pharma loves TPP because the deal will mean any chance of a drug going generic will go out the window. Right now drugs can go generic—which means it’s more affordable for families—in 12 years or so. Under TPP, it will be 50 years.
When you think trade deal, you may not automatically think religion. However, with countries involved like Brunei, the concern that if that country gets more power they will have more resources to persecute more people based on religion. Women in Brunei get stoned to death if their husbands says they committed adultery. Christians have no sense of self or freedom. And the TPP would be supporting these countries with more money and more power.
Take action by emailing, calling, Facebook message or Tweet to our Representatives which is the place where this bill can be defeated. The Senate is too lock step with this bad bill already.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (represents the 1st district which is Lincoln and a larger area–thanks to the last “redistricting” which did a strange carving of our state–that includes Fremont, Columbus, Norfolk): We think Rep. Fortenberry could be open to vote against TPP because of the religious persecution in some countries party to the trade deal, like Brunei. Rep. Fortenberry often stands up for Christians and he is now the Co-Chair for the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus giving more hope for him doing the right thing on TPP.
Rep. Brad Ashford (represents the 2nd district which is Omaha and a few surrounding towns): Rep. Ashford is the newest member of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation. He is the only Democrat. Rep. Ashford hosted Pres. Obama lead staff person on the TPP deal last week and we hear he is leaning towards voting for the deal. We understand he thinks our environmental concerns and concerns of Union workers are overblown. Nebraskans voted and donated to Rep. Ashford because we were sick of Lee Terry doing the bidding of Big Oil and other lobbyists. It’s time for Rep. Ashford to show he is different than Terry.
Rep. Adrian Smith (represents the 3rd district which is the tri-cities, western Nebraska, the Sandhills and pretty much most of our Ag land): Of course, Rep. Adrian Smith should also oppose TPP, yet we all have witnessed since 2007 when he first took office his complete lack of leadership for rural Nebraska. He is worse than a bench warmer. Rep. Smith is an empty suit whose team doesn’t even bother telling him where the bench is anymore. His complete disregard for farmers, ranchers and rural families about valid concerns of risks to our land, water and property rights continues to show us Rep. Smith will do anything and say anything to support corporate interests.
Who’s For TPP
- Pres. Obama
- Sec. Kerry
- US Chamber of Commerce
- ALEC (the Koch-funded group that creates “model” laws around Keystone XL, fracking waste and other bad issues)
- Big corporations like Philip Morris, Exxon, Dow
Who’s Against TPP
- Nebraska Farmers Union (and the National Farmers Union)
- Bold Nebraska
- Nebraska Sierra Club
- Progressive and populist TV and radio hosts like Ed Schultz
- Tea Party groups like Americans for Limited Government
- Every single union including CWA, SEIU, LIUNA, IBEW, AFL-CIO, NEA, Nurses, AFT, AFSCME
- Major national environmental groups like 350.org, NRDC, WWF, LCV, FOE, SC, Food and Water Watch
- Senators who also stand with us against Keystone XL like Senators Whitehouse, Franken, Brown, Udall, Sanders