Activist groups are hosting a National Call-in Day of Action today, asking individuals across the nation to call their Representatives in the U.S. House and urge them to oppose Trade Promotion Authority, or “Fast Track”, for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping trade agreement that has raised serious human rights concerns and threatens US jobs.
Fast Track authority may be voted on as early as next week in the House. The legislation would allow President Obama to force Congress to vote up-or-down, without the opportunity for amendments or discussion, on the TPP. The White House, however, is currently short of the votes needed to approve this dangerous legislation. Activists groups are now asking Americans to call or email their representatives to put a stop to fast tracking the TPP.
Leading the fight in the House against Fast Track is Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). “We will defeat TPA,” DeLauro said in an interview with Politico. DeLauro cites the secret conditions in which the TPP has been negotiated as one of her many concerns with the agreement. “The secrecy around the issue has been extraordinary,” she said. “We want to have congressional input into this process.”
Over 2,000 organizations, including the Feminist Majority, have released a joint letter, opposing fast tracking the TPP, representing labor, environmental, farming, civil rights, digital rights, human rights, public health, faith, student, consumer, and other concerns. Some of these groups have also joined Stop Fast Track, a project of Fight for the Future, to join in actions opposing fast tracking and the TPP.
Although the Senate voted 62 to 37 last month to approve fast track legislation, it was a bumpy ride. Democrats initially blocked the bill from coming to a vote, and some members voiced strong opposition, including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The Feminist Majority Foundation, along with 11 other women’s rights groups, wrote a letter to the White House last year expressing concerns regarding the TPP. Particularly troubling is that Brunei — a country that adopted a vicious new penal code last year that threatens the rights and lives of women, lesbians, and gay men — is among the countries included in TPP negotiations. The new Brunei penal code, which is being implemented in phases, calls for fines and imprisonment for women who become pregnant outside marriage, women who have abortions, for adultery, and so-called “indecent behavior.” Once fully implemented, Brunei’s strict draconian penal code would punish women who engage in same-sex sexual relations with whipping, fines, or imprisonment.
The Feminist Majority has a petition urging representatives in Congress to prevent the US from entering the TPP.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 5/22/15; 5/5/15; 2/19/15; 6/9/14; POLITICO 6/1/15; StopFastTrack.com; Citizens Trade Campaign 4/27/15; The Hill 5/22/15, 2/6/15; FeministMajority Petition;