By Robert A. Vella
Fast-tracking the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal through the U.S. Congress cleared its first hurdle yesterday when the Senate Finance Committee voted overwhelming to give President Obama that authority. Consequently, Republicans are now confident they have sufficient support in both houses to pass the legislation. Votes on the full Senate floor and in the House of Representatives are expected next month.
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee split their votes on giving fast-track authority to the President. My senator, Maria Cantwell, voted in favor of the bill. Here’s a letter I sent to her this morning in response:
I understand that you voted in the Senate Finance Committee to grant fast-track authority to President Obama for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
This position of yours could not be more antithetical to my progressive values. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause within the agreement provides a venue for multinational corporations to circumvent the environmental, labor, and consumer protection laws of the U.S. In effect, it undermines the national sovereignty of participatory countries while dealing yet another devastating blow to the ailing practice of democracy.
The TPP is corporatism, pure and simple.
Therefore, I have no other ethical choice but to withdraw my support from any future elections you might be running in. Furthermore, I regret having supported your candidacies in the past. My one vote may be insignificant, but I’ll exercise it according to my principles.
Robert A. Vella