Leaders of the BlueGreen Alliance, a broad coalition fighting for trade fairness, transparency and the protection of labor and environmental standards, told reporters that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has said nothing new to Congress about Fast Track authority or the job-killing, environment-destroying Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"On fast track itself, that means an up-or-down vote in Congress with no amendment," CWA President Larry Cohen said. "What is the U.S. Trade Representative afraid of? What is the president afraid of?"
"Why are we throwing in with Boehner Trade?" he continued. "Right now, it is well documented that an overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus, about 150 members, opposes the president on Fast Track. Is he going to roll his own party on Fast Track and unite with Boehner on Boehner Trade? That is what this is about right now. There's not one good argument for doing it."
United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard said his union will aggressively oppose Fast Track and the TPP.
"For us, trade is not just a matter of numbers; it's a matter of lives and jobs and lost opportunities," Gerard said. "If the TPP looks and smells like the Korea trade deal, or NAFTA trade deal, or the preferential trade status that we gave China, then history will repeat itself and we'll continue to lose jobs."
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WS) said he had seen in Wisconsin the effects that such job losses could have on communities. For that reason, he said, his colleagues in Congress should not sidestep their constitutional duty to vigorously examine the TPP, which the TPA that the administration is asking for would not allow.
"What we need is to really know what's in the TPP, what 600 people, the corporate CEOs and others who've been drafting this, have put in there and what that means for jobs, and what that means for the environment and what that means for all the other chapters that are included within the trade deal," Pocan said.