By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News 09 October 16
any of you have heard Paul Ryan say the votes are not there in the House to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring it up for a vote in the Senate. Larry Cohen, the past president of the Communications Workers of America and current chair of the board of Our Revolution, is not so sure.
Cohen doesn’t trust McConnell and he told RSN that Ryan is seeking the votes. They don’t say it publicly since there is a very important election coming up. Opposition to the TPP comes from progressive populism and right-wing reactionary populism. So Democrats supporting the TPP face opposition on their left and Republicans face opposition on their right.
The election in November is the big reason there hasn’t been a public push for votes on the largest trade deal ever. Publicly, both presidential campaigns oppose the TPP. With Hillary Clinton we have to wonder if this is an example of her “public position” while privately she supports it. For Trump, it is a nationalist reactionary movement that he is trying to tap into.
What this sets up is a behind-the-scenes push to get the votes in a lame duck session. GOP leaders want the TPP. The leader of the Democratic Party, President Barack Obama, wants the TPP. If they can ram it through Congress in the lame duck session after the election, then the next president’s hands are clean, and the leaders of the two major parties get to deliver a gift to those they really represent, corporate America.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed trade agreement between the United States and eleven Pacific Rim countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam). If Congress approves this controversial deal, it would not only harm workers and the environment, it could unravel hard-won national and local policies on fracking, food safety, the environment and local democratic autonomy. The rules of the TPP game are rigged for corporations, making it easier to use trade rules to undermine and unravel these domestic safeguards.
Here are just a few ways the TPP would harm our food, our water and our democracy:
- The TPP grants corporations special rights to sue over policies the companies claim hurt their profits — demanding cash damages for public health, environmental safeguards, consumer protections or local fracking bans that corporations don’t like.
- The past free trade deals have cost millions of good jobs and contributed to the growing economic inequality in America and the TPP would make it easier to offshore and outsource more jobs.
- The big food and agribusiness companies will try to use the TPP to weaken U.S. food safety rules and inspection at the border, potentially exposing people to unsafe imports.
Those are just a few of the problems we face with the TPP. If this is true, why does President Obama want the trade deal so badly? Cohen says he is not a psychologist but he thinks it is a legacy thing. He thinks the president is looking for another major accomplishment. The gridlock in Washington has prevented Obama from accomplishing most of his agenda, so the TPP would be a major accomplishment.