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Blog Posts: Common Resources

July 21st, 2015

Give Me a Break: Renewable Energy Credits Threatened by Koch Brothers

By Mitch Jones

BlogThumb_WindTurbinesAt the end of next year government policies that have successfully aided the growth of residential and commercial solar and industrial wind are set expire. Congress can help do something about this, but powerful special interests could stand in the way. Read the full article…

July 9th, 2015

Climate Ride: Inspiration for You; Support for Food & Water Watch

Imagine riding a bicycle 300 miles with 150 other inspired people to raise funds for a cause that matters to you. Whether the emotions trigged by that thought fall closer to the terror end of the scale (totally normal!) or near elation, we encourage you to join our Midwest or Northeast Food & Water Watch team for our first year as a beneficiary of the Climate Ride. You don’t have to be a bike racer or own a stitch of stretchy cycling togs to join Food & Water Watch for these wonderful September rides that support solutions to climate change, like our work to ban fracking. All you need is enthusiasm, a willingness to challenge yourself and a desire to have fun making a difference. Take it from Jo, Sandra and Aliya, members of our staff who loved their experiences on Climate Ride and have great stories and tips to share.

 

Jo Miles, Digital Program Director
NYC to DC Climate Ride, May 2012

Jo Miles completes the 2012 NYC to DC Climate Ride at the U.S. Capitol

Jo Miles completes the 2012 NYC to DC Climate Ride at the U.S. Capitol

Were you an experienced cyclist before you signed up?
If I survived Climate Ride, then anyone who can ride a bike can do it. I was badly out of practice at cycling when I signed up. I knew how to ride in traffic to commute, but I don’t think I’d ever ridden more than ten miles in a day before that, and certainly no multi-day tours. I knew it would be a huge challenge for me.

What stood out to you about the ride?
The route was outstanding. I live in Maryland, but never knew how beautiful the mid-Atlantic countryside is. The ride was incredibly well organized, from training and fundraising support to taking care of riders’ needs on the road. And everything was bound together by the theme of climate. My fellow riders were fun and accomplished and passionate about the environment, so there was great company the entire time, and it was very cool to hear what everyone was working on.

What was your most inspiring moment on the ride?
It’s hard to pick just one, of course, but arriving in DC, riding through the town where I live and then down the Capital Crescent Trail (where I trained many times) and finally riding en masse down Constitution Ave. to the Capitol… that’s hard to beat!

What’s your best fundraising tip?
Ask literally everyone you know, and ask them individually. Tell them what you’re up to, and you’ll be surprised who steps up to support you.

What was your biggest challenge on or before the ride?
Definitely the training. I was pretty worried about whether I’d actually make it through. Early on I wondered if signing up was a big mistake. But Climate Ride gives you training tips, and I followed their guide and worked up to longer and longer rides in the weeks before the event. I rode to work multiple times a week and did at least one long ride every weekend; by the time the ride started, I was ready.

What is one takeaway from the ride?
I left with an incredible feeling of accomplishment and a host of new friends. It was a truly fantastic experience.

 

Sandra Lupien, Western Region Communications Manager
California Climate Ride, October 2011

Sandra Lupien at the finish of the 2011 California Climate Ride at San Francisco City Hall. PHOTO: KIP PIERSON PHOTOGRAPHY

Sandra Lupien at the finish of the 2011 California Climate Ride at San Francisco City Hall. PHOTO: KIP PIERSON PHOTOGRAPHY

Why did you sign up?
I am deeply motivated to be a part of efforts that amplify and help solve the climate crisis. When I learned about the Climate Ride, I signed up my (former) employer as a beneficiary and volunteered to be our team captain (even though I was super-intimidated by the mileage).

Describe your cycling experience before you signed up.
I’d been an avid bicycle commuter for many years, obsessed with using my bike to haul everything from groceries to lumber. But, I had never done a long recreational ride. Like Jo, I followed the Climate Ride’s great training plan to get ready.

What stood out to you about the ride?
Haha! The rain! The Climate Ride calls the 2011 California participants “The Storm Riders” because we rode and camped in uncharacteristically wet conditions for about half or our ride. It was truly awesome because everyone was in it together and the staff took great care of us. Beyond the rain, what stood out was solid organizing, terrific people from age 18 – 75, stunning scenery and plenty of good food.

What was your most inspiring moment on the ride?
On the last day, we woke up early to clear weather. The staff had rigged a tarp to cover the breakfast area. As the ride leader, Blake, started reviewing the day’s route, a torrential downpour broke. Someone started chanting, “More! More! More!” and we all joined in solidarity. By the time we reached Stinson Beach (in Marin County), the sun broke through the clouds. The support team turned the van’s radio to a disco station and we all did The Hustle in the parking lot. Then we rode over Mount Tamalpais, across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco City Hall in glorious sunlight. I won’t deny that I shed a lot of happy tears. Unforgettable.

How much money did you raise?
I raised about $5,500 using email and Facebook. I asked many times and thanked people immediately and publicly for their gifts. The results on Facebook surprised me – people I hadn’t spoken with since junior high or high school supported my campaign. It was so cool!

What was your biggest challenge on or before the ride?
My mind. Both before and during the ride, I was really afraid I wouldn’t be able to make the miles or do the hills. But, I did it! Well, I did jump in the van to go over the biggest hill and I walked my bike on parts of others, but it still counts!

Best advice?
Before you start training, go to a quality bike shop and have your bike professionally fit. Trust me. Also: bike shorts. Again, trust me.

 

Aliya Mejias, Development Associate
NYC to DC Climate Ride, September 2013
2015 Midwest Ride Food & Water Watch Team Captain

Aliya Mejias, right, completes the 2013 NYC to DC Climate Ride

Aliya Mejias, right, completes the 2013 NYC to DC Climate Ride.

Why did you sign up?
My life is dedicated to protecting our environment and I felt it was time to really show how serious climate change is. I grew up in New York and now live in DC, and I thought that committing myself to raising $3,000 by biking 300 miles from one home to the other would be a great way to get people’s attention.

Describe your cycling experience before you signed up.
I finally gained the confidence to navigate the DC streets my sophomore year in college. I never did long rides, barely knew the surrounding trails and just commuted about ten miles a day as a way to avoid a reliance on fossil fuels. But Climate Ride isn’t about being the most elite biker or seeing who can get to the end first. It’s about building the movement toward a truly sustainable and healthy future.

What stood out to you about the ride?
Because the route connected my home cities, it felt personal to me. I had driven between New York and DC countless times and never imagined I could bike it while raising money and awareness for climate issues. Also, riders ending in DC got to meet with elected representatives to share their reasons for riding 300 miles – I knew I had to do it too.

Describe your favorite/best/most inspiring moment on the ride.
If I had to pick just one, I’ll say it was meeting with my representative to share my story and ask him to take a hard stance on protecting our environment and health. It was really nerve-racking since I’d never met with a representative, but Climate Ride provided us with training so we would be confident.

How much money did you raise?
I raised $3,225 — thanks to the 126 people who supported me! I was so grateful – I thanked every person as soon as I received their donation. On social media, I tagged each donor in a thank-you post and also provided updates on my fundraising and training. I found that seeing that others were giving and reading my progress updates encouraged others to donate.

What was your biggest challenge on or before the ride?
Fundraising. My development resume consisted of a Trick-or-Treat fundraiser and a smaller event earlier that year that raised $200. Thankfully, Climate Ride provided a lot of helpful resources such as email samples, tips and tricks of the trade and awesome fundraising ideas.

Why are you doing the ride again?
I’m riding again because it’s Food & Water Watch’s first year as a beneficiary! I rode away from the 2013 ride with confidence that we can and will make real change. Climate Ride also taught me to challenge myself – that’s why my personal fundraising goal is $5,000 this year. The climate movement has had some victories in the two years since my ride —a fracking ban in New York State and a moratorium on fracking in Maryland, for example. And we still have a lot of work to do. Riding for Food & Water Watch will help build the grassroots power to win lasting policy changes that promise us safe, sustainable and affordable food and water.

Sounds like fun, right? Why not join Team Food & Water Watch for the Northeast or Midwest Climate Ride this September? Aliya, along with 2015 participating staff members Jessica, Matt, Alison and Lily (watch for a blog introducing them next week) are building some great team spirit and they’d love to cheer you on along the way. Plus, our team members get a custom Food & Water Watch jersey and t-shirt, abundant appreciation and the satisfaction of knowing that they’re helping Food & Water Watch protect our food, water and climate. For more information, contact Aliya at amejias[at]@fwwatch[dot]org. Are you in for Climate Ride 2015? Register today!

June 23rd, 2015

Free-Trade Senate Democrats Provide Narrow Margin to Pass Fast Track

By Wenonah Hauter

1504_FBSq_NoFastTrack-C1Today, the Senate cleared a key procedural hurdle on a degraded version of the Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority by the narrowest margin in the legislative mechanism’s history, 60-37. The procedural measure required 60 votes to pass. A smaller handful of Democrats joined with Senate Republicans to pass Fast Track over the will of the American people, who have been clamoring to halt the rush to rubber stamp trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Two Senators switched their votes from yes to no, Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The 13 corporate trade backers included: Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Thomas Carper (D-Delaware), Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Diane Feinstein (D-California), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Patty Murray (D-Washington), Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and, the co-sponsor, Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). Senators Bennet, Murray and Wyden are all up for re-election in 2016, and voters will remember this Fast Track betrayal when they go to the polls.

Last month, the Senate passed a different version of Fast Track, but House Republicans eviscerated the delicate Senate policy balances, making the version the Senate passed today considerably worse. Today’s legislation does not include the worker-retraining program that many said was essential to securing their vote. Democrats that supported Fast Track today took a leap of faith that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) can actually pass the worker retraining measures. The Senate should have forced the House to act first on the worker assistance program before walking the plank on Fast Track.

Today’s bill also weakened the Senate’s earlier provisions addressing human trafficking and currency manipulation and includes new House language that prohibits trade deals from ever addressing climate change. Corporate interests are being put on a pedestal, while the health and safety of the American people and our environment are being swept under the rug. Tomorrow, the Senate will likely vote to pass Fast Track, which only requires a simple 51-vote majority, far fewer votes than were needed today.

Fast Track will accelerate congressional consideration of the as-yet-unseen Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact that will undermine key consumer, public health and environmental protections. The Senate Democrats that voted for Fast Track today did so in part because of the promise that the TPP will be “the most progressive trade deal in history” according to Senator Wyden. This is a pathetically low bar, given how bad all the prior trade deals have been.

The Senate passed Fast Track on the narrowest margin in its history today because of the stalwart nationwide activism and advocacy. Food & Water Watch will continue to push for trade deals that put workers, the environment and commonsense consumer protections ahead of Big Business. We will not stand for trade deals like the TPP that undermine our food safety standards, expand fracking and privatize our municipal water systems.

June 22nd, 2015

Fast Track/TPP Update: House Punts Fast Track Problems to Senate

By Patrick Woodall BlogThumb_WoodallPatrick

It has been a chaotic and demoralizing few weeks for proponents of the corporate trade agenda. There is still no promising legislative path to victory, largely because of the outstanding public mobilization launched against the flawed trade policy that Republican leadership, big business and the White House are trying to force a skeptical Congress to accept.

Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly defeated the Fast Track legislative package designed to rubber stamp the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The failure can largely be laid at the feet of the House Republican leadership, which split the Senate bill into two parts, the Fast Track portion and a worker-retraining program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) designed to help workers that lose their jobs because of trade deals like the TPP. The Republicans supported Fast Track but abandoned the GOP leadership on TAA (along with most Democrats that opposed Fast Track). Read the full article…

June 18th, 2015

Pope Denounces Pollution Trading As Solution to Climate Change

By Scott Edwards

BlogThumb_ClimatePopePope Francis’ encyclical letter has finally been released (after a leak to the press earlier this week) and we’re excited about what it says about cap-and-trade pollution schemes:

The strategy of buying and selling “carbon credits” can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.

For years, Food & Water Watch has criticized cap-and-trade and other market-based pollution control approaches as part of the problem, not the solution. It’s pay-to-pollute, and the Pope is absolutely right when he says it doesn’t allow for the change needed to remedy our climate crisis.

It’s a bold and honest statement from the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Of course, he really couldn’t have it any other way, since the New Testament proclaims, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct,” (Galatians 6:5) and pollution trading schemes are designed for one purpose: to allow polluters, through credit purchases or offsets, to avoid accountability for their own conduct and clean up their own mess. It’s a way for corporations to dump responsibility onto the backs of others while poisoning the planet.

Whether pollution trading is geared towards carbon emissions in the air or, in the new market push, agricultural pollution in the water, the result is the same. It’s an avoidance technique that prolongs business as usual and delays serious action regulating polluting industries or, in the case of water pollution, undermines existing proven legislation like the Clean Water Act. Read our report about the problems with pollution trading here.

In addition to his stance on pollution trading, the Pope also sharply criticized climate deniers and our ongoing dependence in dirty fossil fuels. “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels…needs to be progressively replaced without delay.” Unfortunately, delay is what we get as “Politics and business have been slow to react in a way commensurate with the urgency of the challenges facing our world.”

Whether it’s climate denial, addiction to fossil fuels or the introduction of false solution schemes like pollution trading, there’s also one more important thing that the Pope understands about the mechanism for change – it’s going to have to come from organizations around the world who remain true to the cause while pushing for political power and better policies:

We cannot fail to praise the commitment of international agencies and civil society organizations which draw public attention to these issues and offer critical cooperation, employing legitimate means of pressure, to ensure that each government carries out its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve its country’s environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or international interests.

Unfortunately, there are many in the current, mainstream environmental movement who have capitulated to spurious interests and embrace irresponsible trading and market approaches to our ongoing pollution problems. But they’re no solution at all. Let’s hope the Pope’s comments help sway the debate on pollution trading and move us all away from fossil fuels.

June 15th, 2015

Fast Track/TPP Update: Last Week’s Wins, This Week’s Shenanigans

By Patrick Woodall and Mitch Jones

*Updated on June 16

1504_FBSq_NoFastTrack-C1Last Friday, the national movement to stop Fast Track for flawed trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) scored a huge victory when the House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected part of the Senate’s Fast Track legislation. The lopsided defeat prevented the measure from heading for a presidential signature. For the moment, this has stalled the corporate-backed legislation being pushed by both Republicans and the White House to cram Fast Track through the Congress over broad-based public opposition.

Score one for the good guys. But the corporate lobbyists crawling all over Capitol Hill are not easily thwarted. They will try, try again despite last week’s scalding loss. The first chance will likely be tomorrow (more below), but to understand that, you sort of need to see how the Fast Track bill worked its way through the Congress.

The Anatomy Of The Fast Track Bill

The Senate Fast Track legislation included a program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that helps workers who lose their jobs due to trade deals. (The existence of this program pretty much demonstrates that Congress knows these trade deals are job killers.) But in the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) split the Senate bill in half: the Fast Track part and the TAA part. House Republicans generally oppose the worker assistance program (because it is taxpayer-funded welfare that encourages “takers,” in Mitt Romney’s parlance) and the Democrats have generally been fierce Fast Track opponents.

Speaker Boehner figured he could pass the two parts of Fast Track (Democrats would vote for worker assistance and Republicans would vote for Fast Track) and then stitch them back together and then send the bill to President Obama. The House and Senate must pass identical versions of legislation before the President can sign it into law. Usually House and Senate differences are patched up in a long conference committee process, but since Fast Track is politically unpalatable, they want to just pass the same bill once in both bodies without the messy conference process.

But the American people derailed that on Friday. The House soundly defeated the worker assistance portion of the Senate legislation and narrowly passed the Fast Track portion. Now the bill cannot go to the President.

Tomorrow: Another Vote To Revive Fast Track

After Fast Track was defeated in the House on Friday, Speaker Boehner immediately called for a re-vote on the worker assistance portion to try and save his Fast Track bill and that vote has to happen by the end of the day tomorrow (or they could vote to have a revote later in the week).

So, tomorrow there will be another vote on the worker assistance provisions to try and resuscitate Fast Track. Congress should continue to stay strong and block this attempt to revive it.

Other Ways To Revive Fast Track

If this vote fails, what’s next? The Fast Track zombie could be brought back with legislative shenanigans, but these likely face steeper legislative odds. The House could try to pass the exact Senate Fast Track bill, including the worker assistance program, which will face stiff Republican opposition. Or, the House could send its own Fast Track legislation without the worker assistance measure back to the Senate, and ask the Senate to pass just Fast Track, where it would face a new vote and dubious prospects.

While Friday’s vote was a real victory, we must remain vigilant against Fast Track supporters’ efforts to pass a bill. Probably their finest legislative sorcerers are ginning up even more surprising parliamentary hijinks. Stay tuned.

*Breaking Update, June 16: Last night the Republican leadership in the House realized they could not win a re-vote on the worker protection provisions and decided to extend the time they could reconsider this measure until the end of July. An extension was always one of the options, but by extending the re-vote period by six weeks, the GOP leadership and the White House now have time to cajole Congress into caving into the corporate trade agenda. 

But the delay shows that people power is working. Congress is listening to the public and recognizes the TPP and other trade deals pose genuine risks to consumers, workers and the environment. The grassroots fair trade movement will continue to passionately work to insist that Congress to stop these deeply flawed trade deals. Keep up the great work and stay tuned.

June 11th, 2015

Fast Track/TPP UPDATE: House Vote Tomorrow

IMG_0211By Patrick Woodall

Yesterday, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives announced that the vote to Fast Track the Trans-Pacific Partnership would take place on Friday, June 12. The Fast Track vote is expected to be extremely close and it remains uncertain and fluid even a day before the votes are cast. This week groups across the political spectrum announced they not only were opposed to Fast Track but that they would include the vote in their annual scorecards of the Congress. Both the environmental League of Conservation Voters and the conservative Heritage Action opposed Fast Track and announced the vote would be included in their congressional ratings.

The Republican leadership has established a complex parliamentary gambit to pass the trade legislation that may backfire. The Senate bill combined Fast Track and the reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, designed to help workers that lose their jobs because of trade deals. The House will split these into two votes and fund the TAA with severe and unpopular cuts to the Medicare program. Then the Republicans will “fix” the Medicare cuts in a different trade bill first, but Democrats would ultimately be asked to vote for the Medicare cuts, a vote that would assuredly make it into Republican attack ads next election cycle.

The last ditch push for Fast Track has put intense pressure on the few remaining “undecided” members of Congress. The Republican Leadership, President Obama and the Big Business lobby are pulling out all the stops to pass Fast Track. But a broad-based coalition has been mobilized to ensure that Congress does the will of the American people and votes against Fast Track. On Wednesday, Food & Water Watch joined more than a dozen members of Congress and a host of consumer, labor, women’s, environmental, seniors and other groups in a press conference demonstrating the broad based opposition to Fast Track.

The vote remains too close to call. The Republican leadership seems to be trying to rush Fast Track to the floor even though they are unsure of the outcome to try and stampede skeptical Republicans into supporting Fast Track. But it will be a down-to-the-wire, razor-thin vote that will probably happen late at night. Congress has recently taken a lot of late night votes, including repealing country of origin meat labeling at 10 PM last Wednesday night. The Congress has become a parliament of vampires.

Now is the time to contact your Member of Congress and tell them to vote NO on Fast Tracking the secret TPP.

Stay tuned…

 

June 2nd, 2015

Progressive Trade Deal? Show Us the Text of the TPP!

The Super Secretive TPP and the Corporate Cabal Writing the Deal

By Patrick Woodall and Elizabeth Schuster

BlogThumb_AFLTPPbannerBefore the Senate left on its Memorial Day “recess,” it barely managed to pass Fast Track trade authority designed to essentially rubber-stamp the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). That the legislation limped across the finish line of a pro-trade Senate demonstrates the controversial and politically charged nature of Fast Track. The Obama administration has kept the TPP negotiations and the text largely secret — except from the corporate advisors that have been inserting special interest mischief into the TPP trade deal.

The President contends the TPP is the “most progressive trade deal in history,” but if the terms of the deal are good enough to draw support from progressive America, why won’t the President release the text of the agreement?

As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis noted, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Perhaps surprisingly, President George W. Bush released the draft text of the Free Trade Area of the Americas to the public, and his team’s rationale should be illuminating for the Obama administration. According to then U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, they released the FTAA text “to make international trade and its economic and social benefits more understandable to the public.”

But the TPP has been shrouded in so much secrecy that even Members of Congress have had difficulty accessing the TPP negotiating texts. Up until this year, Members of Congress had to request access to the text that was secured in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In March, USTR set up a room in the Capitol where Members of Congress could visit the text without making an appointment.

Not everyone took advantage of the convenience. Even the Senators voting for Fast Track were unsure what is in the agreement. Fast Track sponsor and TPP proponent Senator Orrin Hatch admitted that he does not “know fully what’s in TPP myself.” Read the full article…

May 26th, 2015

Fast Track Update: Senate Bill Limps Across Finish Line and on to the House

By Patrick Woodall

Fast Track, LaborThe Senate ultimately passed Fast Track after a surprisingly contentious and difficult week of trade debate late last Friday night. The big business-Republican leadership-Obama administration alliance had hoped to generate momentum for Fast Track by scoring a swift and easy victory in the Senate.

Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a “robust” amendment process, debate over amendments was cut off and only a few amendments were even considered. The Senate defeated important amendments to increase funding for assistance to workers who lost their jobs because of trade (offered by Senator Brown, D-Ohio), to prevent other countries from manipulating their currency and artificially increasing their exports (Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio) and to prevent the corporate lawsuits against consumer and environmental protections (Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts).

But the Fast Track juggernaut fizzled in the Senate as stalwart proponents of a fairer global trade system highlighted the flaws for workers, the environment and consumers in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Fast Track limped across the Senate finish line after bitter debate between staunch opposition and shameless apologists for the corporate trade agenda.

Ultimately Fast Track passed 62-37, with fourteen Democratic Senators voting yes (Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) joined the bakers dozen corporate trade backers that joined the Republican leadership to begin the debate) and five Republican Senators voting against Fast Track with the majority of Democrats (Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama)).

It was never in doubt that Fast Track would pass the Senate. The Fast Track proponents hoped an easy victory in the Senate would build a sense of inevitability as the measure moved to the House of Representatives. Instead, Fast Track garnered fewer votes than 2002 or 1991 and the anemic victory further deflated the hoped for momentum. In June, the legislation heads to the House where the Senate legislative hiccups will run headlong into stiff and bipartisan opposition that will derail Fast Track.

But only grassroots pressure can ensure our congressional representatives stand up to the pressure from corporate lobbyists and Washington insiders and vote no on Fast Track.

Contact your Representative right now and tell them to vote NO on Fast Track!

 

 

 

May 18th, 2015

UPDATE: Senate Begins Trade Debate

BlogThumb_WoodallPatrickBy Patrick Woodall

Yesterday, the Senate voted 65-33 to begin debating Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority, a few days after Senate Democrats prevented Republican leadership from bringing up the controversial trade legislation. Thirteen Democrats joined the Republicans in voting to start consideration of the Fast Track legislation that will be used to accelerate the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. No Republicans voted against it.

The bakers dozen corporate trade backers included: Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Thomas Carper (D-Delaware), Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Diane Feinstein (D-California), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Patty Murray (D-Washington), Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and, the co-sponsor, Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

This vote was never really in doubt; the legislative setback earlier in the week sent a strong message that the corporate-Republican-White House trade juggernaut could not even ram Fast Track through the pro-trade Senate. Now the Senate will debate the bill and even consider some amendments, and that process will take more than a few days. Ultimately, next week or the week afterwards, the Senate will pass Fast Track. Then the legislation moves on to the House, where the considerable public opposition to the corporate trade agenda can derail Fast Track once and for all.

Contact your Representatives and Senators right now and tell them to vote NO on Fast Track!

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