Hoffa: What America needs from its trade pacts

Posted: May 13, 2015
Source: James P. Hoffa, The Detroit News

The U.S. Senate has decided, for now, not to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the fast track. That’s a good thing. This issue deserves a full debate.

A bipartisan buy-in for trade deals is essential, because there is little of that with the current version of fast track.

Fast track trade authority is would allow bad trade pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to sail through Capitol Hill with little debate and no chance to be amended. Thousands of Americans would see their jobs shipped overseas, and many more would see their wages drop. In return, our homes would be flooded with unsafe food and products from abroad.

Michiganians know all too well the high cost of previous trade deals. Luckily, there are some elected officials who are on the side of workers. Congressman Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, the senior Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee, is one of them, standing up to big business interests who have been pushing for more of the same when it comes to trade.

Instead of going along with those efforts, Levin is blazing his own path. He’s offered legislation that would make TPP negotiators accountable to Congress as they work out all of the outstanding issues on TPP, and would not allow the deal to be expedited unless a bipartisan collection of House and Senate trade advisers determined instructions have been followed.

A bipartisan buy-in for trade deals is essential, because there is little of that with the current version of fast track. Enough Senate Democrats voted no to stall the legislation for now. Why? Because there are plenty of problems with TPP that fast track wouldn’t allow to be fixed.

— Read the complete source story.
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