Fast-Track Trade Deal Blocked! Europe Ready to Revolt

If you haven’t heard, the big vote on Fast-Track trade authority happened today, and for now, it is blocked! 

Despite Fast-Track passing on a 219-211 vote – with 28 Democrats breaking ranks to vote with Republicans – the fatally flawed "Trade Adjustment Assistance" (TAA) bill went down in flames, 302-126.

Without TAA, Fast-Track can’t go forward. It would have given people assistance who lost their jobs because of trade deals by cutting $700 million from Medicare – the program that provides many of the same people their health care. 

"Labor unions, human rights organizations, internet freedom advocates, climate activists, and progressives of all stripes threw their weight behind stopping this deal, and it’s working. We’re starting to be heard," says 350.org.

Paul Ryan (R-WI) slipped an amendment into a Customs Bill, which is also part of the Fast-Track package, preventing any climate deal through trade agreements.

Find out how your representative voted and PLEASE email or call them to vote against Fast-Track and TAA next week.

Read our article, WikiLeaks Reveals Environment Chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal.

Trans-Pacific Partnership2

Europe’s Stance on Trade Deals

Right now, attention is focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but the US is also negotiating the TransAtlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a similar trade deal with the EU. And there’s an even more secretive deal between 51 countries, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).

The European Parliament will block the deals unless they uphold climate, health and social laws, reports The Guardian. A leaked draft shows that emissions laws that govern airlines and ships would be outlawed, for example.

"Our right to regulate must be fully and unequivocally preserved," Vivian Redding, parliament’s conservative rapporteur, told The Guardian. "Trade must be about trade, not about constraining democratic choices. We want better international regulation, not lower domestic regulation. We want an upwards levelling of global standards, not a race to the bottom. Our standards are not for sale, they are not trade barriers."

Two million people have signed petitions in Europe against the trade deals. In April, tens of thousands of people in over 600 cities protested.

We got a good example of what we can expect when the World Trade Organization (WTO) voted to disallow US labels on meat under NAFTA. The labels indicate the Country of Origin – where the animal was raised and slaughtered. This overwhelmingly popular law allows the USDA to quickly determine the source of adulterated meat and food borne illnesses, and gives Americans knowledge of where the meat they buy comes from.

Canada and Mexico sued the US (on behalf of their meat-packing industries) and won, claiming that these labels negatively impact their profits. They say they will charge the US $3 billion a year in tariff payments and Congress has already voted to repeal the COOL Act. 

Read about TISA:

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