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Action Alert: Tell Congress to Vote “NO” on Fast Track

November 11, 2014 by  
Filed under PCUSA

From the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public WitnessTAKE ACTION NOW: Please urge your Members of Congress to protect the economy, environment and public health by opposing “Fast Track” legislation.

 
President Obama and other heads of state are meeting in Asia this month to move forward the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) negotiations.  Millions of people throughout the world are concerned about the extreme secrecy surrounding the ongoing TPP negotiations.  The public deserves the right to know what is being proposed for a twelve-nation pact that will set the rules governing an estimated 40% of the global economy — rules that not only dictate tariff levels, but also energy and environmental policy, medicine patents, financial regulations, “Buy Local” preferences, food safety, Internet protocols, consumer labeling and
more.
 
While the public has had no access to the TPP negotiating process, hundreds of corporate lobbyists have had access to the texts. This double-standard has assured that the TPP has been written in corporations’ interests, with little regard for working families, public health or the environment.
 
Now many of these same corporations want Congress to give up its constitutional authority to assure that trade agreement provisions are written in the best interests of the constituents they serve.  Many are even calling for “Fast Track” to be passed during the post-election “Lame Duck” session of Congress, when political accountability to constituents is often at its lowest.  “Fast Track” or fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress that allows the administration to negotiate international trade agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster.
 
For additional background on the TPP and “Fast Track” watch the PCUSA Hunger Program’s webinar – The Case for Transparency: How Fast Track Shuts Down Public Debate on Trade - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIoxANf7ug8
 
 
A coordinated #StopFastTrack Week of Action is taking place right now, with a broad range of groups across the issue spectrum mobilizing their supporters to speak out.  Contacting Congress is the critical first step.  You can also participate by attending a rally or community forumwriting a Letter to the Editor or sending sample Tweets with the #StopFastTrack hashtag.
 
Thanks to similar efforts earlier this year, over a million Americans spoke out to stop an attempt to pass a “Fast Track” bill.   By taking action together, we can beat back “Fast Track” now and into the future.
 
 
General Assembly Policy
 
Since the passage of NAFTA and CAFTA – PCUSA policy is circumspect about further deregulation of trade. No existing policy affirms a market empty of moral considerations or rules. Neither does the church condone acquiring individual, corporate or national gains to the detriment of basic human needs. Repeated General Assemblies have stated that corporations should not have the right to override the sovereignty of governments to regulate public health, labor rights, and environmental protections or to cause harm to indigenous communities or other vulnerable populations.
 
The best hope is that trade functions as a means of grace[1] to create dignified work that support people’s lives, puts food on the table and undergirds the creation of a just society. The moral test is whether our increasingly globalizing economies support the human enterprise and the larger creation, according to the PCUSA Resolution on Just Globalization, released in 2006. If trade further impoverishes segments of the world’s population, its purpose is distorted and such injustice calls for reshaping global structures that cause economic oppression and creates wealth for only a few at the expense of the many. Such a world is a parody of the biblical vision for just community.


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