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Congressman Peter DeFazio Heartened by Defeat of Job-Killing Fast Track Trade Package

Jun 12, 2015
Press Release
DeFazio calls defeat of fast track package, “A victory for economic fairness, transparency and American workers”

Washington, D.C. –Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today was pleased by the defeat of a trade package that would allow President Obama to push through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping trade agreement that would cost the American economy thousands of middle-class jobs and undermine U.S. laws protecting consumer rights and the environment.

“This is a victory for economic fairness, transparency, and American workers,” said DeFazio. “We now have an opportunity to improve this package to protect American workers, manufacturing, consumer rights and the environment. The Trade Adjustment Assistance bill robbed Peter to pay Paul, cutting Medicare to provide meager retraining assistance to workers who will lose their jobs as a result of this bad trade deal.  Fast track would have relegated Congress to be used as a doormat, allowing no debate or amendments to the massive TPP agreement, a trade deal that repeats the same failed trade policies of the last 20 years.  TPP has been negotiated in secret and will export jobs, drive down U.S. wages, and undermine U.S. sovereignty, giving multinational corporations the means to overturn U.S. laws protecting consumers and the environment.”

The Fast-Track legislation would have allowed the TPP trade deal to go through Congress without any amendments, limited debate, and an up or down vote from Members of Congress. The agreement, which was negotiated in secret by government bureaucrats and corporate lobbyists, would have accounted for 40 percent of the world’s trade.

Part of the package, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), was billed as a measure to aid workers who would lose their jobs due to the trade agreement. However, the TAA was paid for using cuts to Medicare, robbing our nation’s seniors of vital healthcare resources. 

Also on Friday, the House passed a customs bill that stripped out many of the protections included in the Senate fast track bill, including provisions enforcing currency manipulation and combatting human trafficking. The customs bill also shamefully included a new provision prohibiting any enforceable climate change protections.

Throughout his tenure in Congress, Congressman DeFazio has tirelessly fought against unjust trade policies that put our consumer safety, environmental quality, and manufacturing jobs at risk. He has repeatedly pushed back against failed policies that have endangered Americans in the name of so called “free” trade, including efforts to allow unsafe Mexican trucks to travel on American roads, as well as a repeal of country of origin labeling on meat products in the USA.