Posted: November 12, 2014
Published in the Detroit News, November 12, 2014
Election season is now behind us. But that doesn’t mean the policy battles for 2014 are finished. A lame-duck session of Congress convenes today, and Capitol Hill lawmakers could consider fast-track trade promotion authority in the coming weeks that would jeopardize thousands of jobs in Michigan and nationwide.
The Great Lakes State lost nearly 255,000 manufacturing jobs during the past 20 years due to rotten trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this year. That would just be the start of job losses, however, if elected officials agree to waive their constitutional obligation to review trade deals by approving fast track.
Fast track doesn’t allow Congress to make changes to trade agreements and limits debate. Instead, lawmakers can only take an up-or-down vote on such pacts. And that’s a problem when these proposals are being secretly negotiated. The public doesn’t know what’s going on, and even those on Capitol Hill don’t have full access.
One such deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is currently being discussed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Negotiators from the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries are trying to bring talks to a conclusion. Big business supporters of TPP would like nothing more than to have a vehicle in place that eases its path to approval in the U.S.
But the Teamsters and our fair-trade allies are demanding that Congress hit the brakes on fast track. Last week, we submitted 664,000 signatures to Capitol Hill leaders urging them not to approve a trade vehicle that will result in jobs being shipped overseas and unsafe food and manufactured goods coming to our shores. It’s part of an ongoing campaign against fast track highlighting its impact on working families.
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