TPP Teetering, Could Be Doomed

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

December 21, 2015

During President Obama’s administration, American workers have had little to cheer about. Since his 2009 inauguration, 67 percent of new jobs have gone to legal and illegal immigrants.

But an unlikely source and strong Obama ally on trade and immigration, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said that one of the president’s top domestic priorities – but a U.S. job-killer – the Trans-Pacific Partnership, shouldn’t be submitted to Congress before the 2016 election. McConnell’s announcement puts TPP in jeopardy.

Anti-American TPP may not reach Congress
during Obama administration.

As written, TPP would put thousands of American jobs at risk since the 12 signatory nations would be able to send workers to the U.S. to fill a wide range of low- and high-skilled professions. McConnell cited “significant pushback all over the place” to TPP.

That’s ironic because McConnell voted for TPP in June despite, using his words, “significant pushback” from Americans worried about jobs, wages, the environment and national security. A year ago, McConnell gushed about Obama’s trade agenda and called the president “a born-again free-trader.” Another former TPP advocate and yea vote, the highly influential Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, also is having second thoughts. Hatch’s support is seen as vital for TPP to pass.

Earlier this month, the World Trade Organization ruled against country-of-origin meat labels (COOL) and authorized $1 billion in trade sanctions against the U.S. unless and until the pro-consumer policy is weakened or eliminated. Under TPP, proper food labeling would be considered a trade barrier. About 90 percent of Americans favor COOL. The threat that it could be eliminated and allow food that doesn’t meet U.S. standards to reach the American market is one example among many of how poorly drafted trade agreements work against the nation’s best interests.

Critics have hammered TPP for its effect on American workers, and on-the-job safety standards, but the WTO ruling could be the tipping point that dooms the trade agreement. The Economic Policy Institute predicts that TPP will accelerate U.S. job loss and widen income inequality. Now that the once secret TPP text has been made public, the job and environmental destruction details are worse than even the biggest disbelievers could have imagined. Read the 24-page dire TPP analysis here.

Help kill TPP. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your representatives to stand up for American workers and reject TPP. 
 

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