The White House, the big business lobby and country club Republicans are making a final push to pass the politically toxic Trans-Pacific Partnership — after the election. That’s right, the controversial trade deal is so unpopular, so reviled even by both presidential candidates, that even its biggest fans realize Congress cannot possibly take it up before the election, lest voters exact retribution at the polling booths.
Republican leaders in the House and the Senate have said that there will be no TPP vote this year, but this is political theater. These ardent free trade Republicans are not guaranteeing that there will not be a TPP vote, they are fishing for corporate giveaways to sweeten the deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) are demanding that the White House get more corporate concessions and they’re urging the business lobby to provide TPP supporters with more political cover from GOP populists who oppose the deal.
Don’t be fooled: A vote on the TPP is definitely coming.
The Return of the TPP Lobbying Juggernaut
There is a final last ditch stand to ram the TPP corporate power grab through Congress in a post-election Congressional work period (known in Washington as a “lame duck” session). The TPP juggernaut is backed by a cabal of the biggest corporations, the White House political machine and mainstream Republican luminaries.
Recently, the White House gathered establishment Republicans and business leaders to launch a final TPP push. The powerful Business Roundtable lobbying group has a weekly TPP strategy meeting with the White House, and its well-connected lobbyists troll the halls of Congress every day.
The leader of the Senate trade committee, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), has vowed that the TPP will pass during the lame duck session because he is confident the White House will deliver even stronger giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry.
An Undemocratic Process for an Undemocratic Deal
The TPP has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning. Nearly 500 business advisors helped negotiate the deal while the public, press and elected officials were kept in the dark. The hyper-confidentiality protected the TPP’s pro-corporate bias from the prying eyes of public scrutiny for years.
But since the deal became public about a year ago, the scope of the corporate power grab has been revealed. The TPP gives foreign companies special rights to sue the U.S. government for rules, laws or actions that supposedly crimp their expected business earnings. This year, a Canadian pipeline company brought a $15 billion suit because President Obama blocked the climate destroying Keystone XL pipeline under similar provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. These kind of corporate trade lawsuits attack our democracy.
So would a lame duck vote on the TPP. If Congress votes on the deal after the election, Members of Congress that have retired or who lose their elections can cast their votes without ever facing the voters again — and pro-TPP votes might make it easier to get posh corporate lobbying jobs. Those that survive the 2016 election will cast their TPP votes in the lame duck session at the furthest possible point from their next campaign.
Voters Deserve the Whole Story
This is absurd. The TPP is the biggest trade deal in history, and since it is the first trade deal that additional countries can join after it goes into effect, it will only get bigger. Voters deserve to know how their members of Congress will vote on the TPP before they cast their ballots. This trade deal could affect our jobs, our economic security, the safety of our food and our very democracy.
The TPP lobbying onslaught is only just beginning. The entire corporate lobby is pushing the TPP, along with the establishment Republicans and the White House. Only the determined effort of committed citizens working together can derail the TPP. Take action to stop the TPP today!