January 13, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeremy Sprinkle, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-255-2711
HR 3830 THREATENS TO PUT NORTH CAROLINA WORKING PEOPLE ON “FAST TRACK” TO RUIN
Rep. David Price’s vote will be key, needs to just say no to fast-tracking “NAFTA on steroids”
The North Carolina State AFL-CIO opposes HR 3830. This legislation would revive the outdated and unsound 2002 “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority mechanism.
Indeed, the legislation replicates the broad delegation of Congress’ constitutional authorities that was provided in the 2002 Fast Track, undermining Congress’ ability to have a meaningful role in shaping the contents of trade agreements.
The legislation includes several negotiation objectives not found in the 2002 Fast Track. However, the Fast Track process that this legislation would reestablish ensures that these objectives are entirely unenforceable. If this bill were enacted, the president could sign a trade agreement before Congress votes on it—whether or not the negotiating objectives have been met. It would also allow the executive branch to write legislation not subject to committee markup that would implement the pact and alter existing U.S. laws so that they come into compliance with the rules of the trade pact. Additionally, trade pact implementing legislation would require and obtain a vote within 60 days with all floor amendments forbidden and a maximum of 20 hours of debate.
Fast Track was designed in the 1970s when trade negotiations were focused on cutting tariffs and quotas. Today’s pending trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are much broader than tariffs and quotas and deal with issues related patents and copyright, food safety, government procurement, financial regulation, immigration, healthcare, energy, the environment, labor rights and more. Such a broad delegation of Congress’ constitutional authorities is simply inappropriate given the depth of the pending trade agreements and the implications for Congress’ core domestic policymaking prerogatives.
A new form of trade authority is needed that ensures that Congress and the public play a more meaningful role in determining the contents of U.S. trade agreements. Critically, such a new procedure must ensure that Congress’ negotiating objectives have been met before a pact is signed and that expedited procedures only apply to agreements that meet Congress’ objectives.
HR 3830 is an abrogation of not only Congress’ constitutional authority, but of its responsibility to the American people. We oppose this bill, and urge members of Congress to do so as well.
The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing over one-hundred thousand union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working families. PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605.