Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted 60-37 to invoke cloture on Trade Promotion Authority (aka “Fast Track”) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, effectively ensuring the passage of Fast Track. This vote was all the more disappointing because Sen. Feinstein joined 12 other Senate Democrats to cast decisive votes that pushed this job-killing corporate trade deal forward.
For months, unions waged a spirited campaign to derail Fast Track. Union members and leaders traveled to Washington D.C. to personally meet with members of Congress and convey how catastrophic Fast Track legislation could be for working people in California. California nurses dedicated an incredible amount of time and resources to expose how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could wreak havoc on our healthcare system and hold legislators who supported Fast Tracking the TPP accountable. Upon news of Congressman Ami Bera choosing to turn his back on workers and support Fast Track, working people in Sacramento were dedicated to informing the community and spent their free time phone-banking and canvassing for weeks. They also delivered Q-Tips and held sit-ins at his Sacramento office, urging him to listen to his constituents and change his mind. Folks around the state worked to hold their representatives accountable, as well. Workers in Rep. Peters district in San Diego, Rep. Farr’s district in Monterey, Rep. Costa’s district in Fresno worked for weeks and were relentless in their resolve to urge their Congressmen to vote no on Fast Track to protect jobs and the environment. Unfortunately these Representatives refused to budge, siding with corporate lobbyists and DC bureaucrats who have a major stake in getting TPP passed under the radar of working people in America.
The silver lining in all this is the unity shown between labor, environmental groups, human rights organizations and many other progressives who stood together to push for more transparency on this secretive deal. The strong show of solidarity amongst progressives also paved the way for full debate on the TPP’s impact on workers, our environment and democracy itself.
This fight is not over. Congress still must vote on enactment of the TPP. This will likely happen later on this year. Once the agreement is finalized, its content will become public for a period of 60 days before votes on the agreement take place in the House and Senate.
We’re never going to stop fighting for good jobs that support families and our communities. This fight isn’t about one procedural vote in the Senate. It’s about protecting jobs and preserving the middle class. We won’t ever waver in our resolve. Stay tuned for Round 2.