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Fast Track heads to Senate (Again)

Now the Fast Track battle moves to the Senate (again). We expect that there will be a vote on this on Tuesday June 23rd. We need you to call all of your Senators and urge them to vote No. IN particular , we need to focus on Cantwell and Murray. Many Senators have reservations on Export Import Bank , jobs Assistance and the Environment and they don’t think that Congress will address any of these issues. Please make sure that you check in with those offices and let me know what you are hearing. Thank you for all the effort on this important issue!

Senator Maria Cantwell- (202) 224-3441

Senator Patty Murray- (202) 224-2621

Download Talking Points here: Long and Short Senate Fast Track TPs June 18, 2015

Anti-Fast Track TPs for Senate – June 19, 2015

Top Lines (Quick Coverage of Main Points):

  • Voting for the fast track bill that came back from the House still would not only send American jobs overseas but would now also endorse opposition to dealing with climate change, reforming immigration, and doing nothing about currency manipulation. This is unacceptable.
  • Asking the Senate to trust that the House will eventually pass a repaired Customs bill and TAA is like holding hands and jumping off a cliff and hoping you don’t hit bottom. Senators should not be expected to vote on TPA until the customs bill is fixed and TAA is on the President’s desk. Otherwise, the House will have no incentive to fix these things after they have fast track.
  • Far from helping America lead in the world, by preventing trade negotiations from addressing climate change, the customs bill has put TTIP in jeopardy, according to members of the European Parliament.
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance should not be a sweetener or a hostage for fast track. Manipulating elected officials with the well-being of their constituents in order to make it easier to ship American jobs overseas is wrong. TAA should be made permanent, fully funded, and include public sector workers.
  • This version of fast track will hurt workers and fails to make any progress on enforcing labor or human rights standards.

More In-Depth Details on Specific Issues (if needed):

Customs Bill

  • The House-passed customs bill contains language that guts Senator Menendez’s human trafficking language, language that has become more important given the recent discovery of 139 unmarked graves for workers trafficked through Malaysia.
  • Through amendments to the customs bill, Fast Track 2015 was actually made even worse. The House added provisions that would prevent trade agreements from addressing climate change or ensuring protections for migrant workers.
  • The climate provision threatens U.S. manufacturing and could send more production overseas to countries that aren’t addressing carbon emissions. It would also jeopardize the future of TTIP talks, according to European legislators.
  • More than 60 immigrant rights organizations oppose the immigration negotiating objective.
  • The Schumer currency bill, which has bipartisan, bicameral support, was stripped from the bill. Ensuring the executive branch can treat currency manipulation as a countervailable subsidy has been a business and labor priority for more than a decade. This move will cost jobs.
  • The customs bill was also weakened enforcement in a number of ways that hurt firms and their workers, including changes to the ENFORCE Act and the omission of Green 301.
  • The weakening of the customs bill means we will continue to bleed manufacturing jobs.

Human and Labor Rights

  • Since the Senate last voted on Fast Track, unmarked graves containing 139 trafficking victims were unearthed in a migrant worker camp on the border of Thailand and Malaysia. This proves—for anyone who had any doubts—that Malaysia is not an appropriate TPP partner: it is not meeting minimum standards to protect labor and other human rights. And it’s demonstrating a lack of political will to improve.
  • Instead of requiring immediate action by Malaysia, USTR’s response to the recent news was to continue to push to weaken the Menendez amendment, which would have denied Fast Track privileges to trade deals that include countries, like Malaysia, on Tier 3 of the annual trafficking report. The House ultimately weakened the Menendez amendment, allowing Fast Track for Malaysia if the administration certifies that it is “taking steps” to improve.
  • More than 60 immigrant rights organizations oppose the weakening of the Menendez amendment.
  • In addition, USTR has still refused to share with the LAC or Congress its plans to bring Mexico, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia into compliance with ILO core labor standards, as Ambassador Froman has repeatedly promised the TPP will do.
  • The Department of State—as of June 18—has still not published its Human Rights reports for 2014. This is an unprecedented delay.
  • The Ambassador is simply not living up to his promises about protecting labor and human rights in the TPP and other trade deals.

Fast Track

  • Fast Track 2015 hurts workers. It will kill jobs and lower wages.
  • Fast Track 2015 failed to make any progress in ensuing that trade deals meet negotiating goals before according Fast Track privileges or to ensure that trade deals create raise wages, ensure high environmental standards, or protect our democracy.
  • The House made it worse: adding bad trade objectives, weakening trade enforcement and human trafficking provisions, and stripping worker assistance altogether.
  • Promises by the House Republicans to fix these shortcomings simply can’t be trusted.

Ex-Im Bank

  • As with TAA, many House Republicans hope to kill off the Ex-Im Bank for good. Rep. Kevin McCarthy stated on the House floor on June 18 that there is at present no plan to act to renew the Ex-Im Bank in the House.
  • The Ex-Im Bank is the one piece of U.S. trade policy actually designed to create U.S. jobs.
  • At a time when other countries are expanding their export credit agencies, losing the Bank will put U.S. firms and their employees at a serious disadvantage.
  • McConnell has proved himself untrustworthy on the Ex-Im Bank, and there is no path forward in the House without leverage. More promises on Ex-Im action cannot be trusted. The Senate must act now to renew the Ex-Im Bank.

TAA (Avoid implying TPA + TAA = OK)

  • If TAA is truly important, counting on Republican “promises” to pass TAA later is a fool’s errand. The fact is that there is no clear path for TAA passage in the House.
  • As we’ve seen with McConnell’s promises on the Ex-Im Bank, they often ring hollow. House Republicans have stated their desire to kill TAA. If they didn’t support it as part of a quid pro quo for something they liked, what would make them change course now?
  • Trade is permanent and TAA should be permanent. Congress should stop using it as a bargaining chip to make Fast Track easier to swallow.

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