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Fast Track Cleared For Vote In Senate

JUN 23, 2015

“If the Senate fails to approve this bill, neither Congress nor the American people will have a strong voice during these negotiations. As a result, our nation will not be able to get the best trade agreements possible.”

That’s Sen. Orrin Hatch speaking before the Senate ahead of Tuesday’s vote to advance toward an approval of the Trade Promotion Authority. The bill aims to give Pres. Barack Obama a fast-track in negotiating trade deals with other countries. President Dale Cox of the Utah AFL-CIO said that the bill will shroud future trade agreements in secrecy.

“How do you know what’s in that agreement? As a representative how are you going to know how to vote on that?” Cox said. “You are going either to have to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ hoping that you have some clue of what’s in that 10,000-page document, or however many pages it is, God only knows. How are you going to understand that enough to be able to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on that? That, in itself, should go for a ‘no’ vote.”

Under the TPA, Congress would not be able to amend any future trade agreement, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Cox said that previous trade agreements have put Americans into competition with foreign workers on an uneven playing field.

“It’s our obligation to bring these countries to our level, not go down to theirs. It makes it hard for legitimate companies that want to furnish jobs for American men and women to compete when other corporations go to Taiwan or Vietnam, or wherever it is,” he said. “Our men and women work for $20 an hour, those men and women might work for two dollars a day. The safety and health of those men and women aren’t even in the equation.”

A final vote on the TPA is expected later this year.









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