I’ve been ranting so long about the danger and harm in the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement that I’m at a loss for something new to say now that it is actually before Congress for a vote.
The TPP is an agreement among 12 nations, including the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan, which would set limits on financial regulation and food safety standards and make drug patent and copyright laws more restrictive.
Its most controversial provisions is the Investor State Dispute Settlement system, which would allow foreign investors to seek sanctions against governments whose labor, environmental, health and other laws deprived it of its just profits.
Under ISDS, “foreign investors” – mostly transnational corporations – have the ability to bypass U.S. courts and challenge U.S. government action and inaction before international tribunals authorized to order U.S. taxpayer compensation to the firms.
Today Congressional leaders announced support for fast track authority, which means that the House of Representatives would have no more than 60 days to debate the agreement and the Senate 30 additional days, after which they would vote “yes” or “no”.
This does not mean that fast track has been approved. This would require a vote by the full House and Senate, which is yet to come.
The TPP is a thick and complex document. Negotiations have been conducted under strict secrecy, and the material will be new to most members of Congress. What little is publicly known comes from leaked negotiating documents, many of them through WikiLeaks. (Thank you, Julian Assange).
If TPP is approved through a fast track process, I would bet that dozens of congresspeople a year later will be saying they wouldn’t have voted for it if they had realized all that was in it.