Progressive champions in Congress spoke out against the TPP and accepted petition signatures from broad coalition of progressive groups
June 3, 2015 – Progressive organizations delivered more than two million petition signatures to Congress today in opposition to Fast Tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The signatures were delivered to House leadership in both parties today immediately following a press event on the House Triangle on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol Building.
The petition signatures were collected by CREDO Action, AFL-CIO, Avaaz, Democracy for America, MoveOn.org Civic Action, Daily Kos, Public Citizen, 350.org, Demand Progress, Rootstrikers, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, SumOfUs, Social Security Works and the Alliance for Retired Americans.
At the press event, progressive champions including Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison spoke out against the Fast Track bill, which the House is expected to consider later this month.
Photos from the event are available here (more will be uploaded shortly): https://www.flickr.com/photos/133775485@N07/sets/72157653944999722
“Today’s event shows just how strong and intense the progressive opposition is to Fast Track for the TPP,” said Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director at CREDO. “House Democrats have the power to stop the TPP from being Fast Tracked,” Zaheed continued, adding, “now they must decide whether they’ll side with their progressive base and lead against Fast Track or throw Americans under the bus by helping Republicans and the Obama administration jam this corporate power grab through Congress.”
“Based on everything we’ve seen so far, TPP would be nothing short of a disaster for our climate,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org. “This deal hands even more power to the fossil fuel industry, letting lawyers at Exxon and Shell file expensive tantrum lawsuits whenever governments enact climate policies they don’t like. That’s not surprising, given that TPP was written in secret by lobbyists for massive corporations, but the bottom line is: our climate simply can’t afford it. We need more and more demonstrations like this one, until we finally turn the page on bad trade deals that worsen climate change.”
“American workers have made their opposition to another job killing trade deal loud and clear,” said AFL-CIO Strategic Advisor and Director of Communications Eric Hauser. “It appears that the TPP does not address issues crucial to working families including wages, workers’ rights and safety. These petitions clearly show how constituents feel.”
“Obama promises that the problems with ISDS trade tribunals are “fixed” in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but no tweaks can “fix” a private, parallel supra-national justice system that allows foreign companies to do an end-run around the rule of law,” said Terra Lawson-Remer, Campaign and Legal Director, Avaaz. “There is nothing fair about that — and it’s hardly something to fast-track.”
“Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world and the TPP deal will make the price of medication rise dramatically,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “We urge all Americans, especially retirees who live on fixed incomes, to tell their members of Congress to oppose fast track.”
“Congressional Democrats can stand with the millions of Americans nationwide who very clearly oppose Fast Track for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership or they can side with the army of industry lobbyists who wrote the NAFTA-style trade deal by and for themselves, but they can’t do both,” said Neil Sroka, Communications Director at Democracy for America. “Today’s event should make clear that, if Congressional Democrats stand with the American people and oppose Fast Track for the job-killing TPP, a grassroots army will have their back. And, if they stand with the corporate interests looking to grease the skids for this job-killing trade deal, the activists who win Democrats elections won’t soon forget their betrayal,” Sroka continued.
“Fast Track would give away Congress’s right to vet toxic trade deals like the TPP, which would undercut critical efforts to protect public health and the environment,” said Michelle Chan, Economic Program Director of Friends of the Earth. “Voters will remember those elected officials who stood up for people and the planet, and those who sided with Wall Street, Big Oil and other polluters.”
“A key reason that the votes are not there to pass Fast Track trade authority in the House of Representatives is the unprecedented citizen activism nationwide in person and online against Fast Track and the TPP,” said Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Almost every Democrat and many GOP members in the House of Representatives oppose Fast Track despite the massive corporate campaign and the White House pushing the bill.”
“Millions of Americans have spoken out against this job-killing legislation—from visiting their members of Congress in person to flooding their offices with calls to adding their names to these petitions,” said Justin Krebs, campaign director at MoveOn.org Civic Action. “We know that together we can stop Fast Track—and we’re going to keep speaking out, and calling out every member of Congress who sides with corporations over the American people.”
“Americans deserve to know what the Obama Administration is telling corporate insiders about its secret trade deals,” said Kurt Walters, campaign manager of Rootstrikers. “All along, the Administration’s position has been ‘just trust us.’ But just like sunlight is the best of disinfectants, secrecy is the worst way to prove your trustworthiness.”
“The false trade deal being negotiated in secret is a raw deal for all Americans. It will lead directly to higher drug prices in Medicare and everywhere else, while at the same time shipping jobs overseas and lowering wages here at home,” said Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works. “All of these pressures will lead to a less secure retirement for the American people, and to add insult to injury they want to pay for one provision by taking money directly out of Medicare. It is shameful.”
“Mega-corporations are doing their best to lobby for the TPP,” said Kaytee Ray-Riek, SumOfUs Campaign Director. “If we bow to the special interests behind this trade deal we will be putting corporate profits above our democracy. People all over the world, and here in the United States, are joining together to stop this corporate power grab.”