Bernie Sanders Blasts White House Over TPP Lame Duck Move

Bernie Sanders

Obama plans on pushing the TPP Trade deal through despite fierce opposition.

Despite fierce opposition to the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal from both sides of the aisle, President Barack Obama gave official notice to Congress on Friday that he intends to push the deal though anyway.

Since presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both come out against the TPP, President Obama’s target is the ‘lame duck’ session that follows the November elections. During this time, outgoing lawmakers can’t be held accountable by voters, and therefore have nothing to lose by voting for a trade deal that aims to give more power to corporations over people.

Perhaps the loudest and most consistent voice against the ‘disastrous’ TPP trade deal comes from former 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sen. Sanders issued a statement on Friday, in reaction to the move by the White House:

I am disappointed by the president’s decision to continue pushing forward on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that will cost American jobs, harm the environment, increase the cost of prescription drugs and threaten our ability to protect public health.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a 12 nation pact that will cover 40 percent of the global economy. But it’s not the trade aspects of the deal that has some US lawmakers and other member nations worried.

What People Don’t Know Will Hurt Them

Only 5 of the 26 chapters in TPP have anything to do with trade. The bulk of the agreement is focused on expanding corporate power over sovereign nations.

Among the most nefarious are the investor state dispute provisions (ISDS). Like NAFTA, these allow corporations to sue governments for ‘anticipated profits’ in secret tribunals. Since their decisions are final and their power supersedes all other legal and court systems, there is no way to appeal or challenge them. If the 3-member board, made up of corporate attorneys, finds in favor of a corporation, the taxpayers of the losing nation would be on the hook for payment. As a way to avoid payment, which could be billions of dollars, the country on the losing end of the decision could also be forced to change their laws to suit the corporation.

The implications of ISDS provisions are a potential disaster for the environment. A good example would be New York State’s ban on fracking. If TPP is passed, oil companies can claim the law is hindering their ‘anticipated profits’ and sue the government. Threats of ISDS lawsuits could also be used as blackmail to prevent governments from enacting new environmental or public safety laws.

This is not a far-fetched scenario. TransCanada has already filed suit against the US government under NAFTA.

As the Huffington Post reports:

TransCanada Corp. is moving forward with its attempt to seek more than $15 billion compensation under the North American Free Trade Agreement following the U.S. government’s rejection of the company’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

There are other worrisome provisions in TPP. In addition to forcing American workers to compete with cheaper foreign labor markets, there are monopoly protections for Big Pharma and a ban on cheaper generic drugs, substantial banking deregulation, lower safety standards on imported food, and SOPA-like rules that threaten open access to the internet.

In reality, TPP is less of a trade deal, and more of a vehicle for corporations to get the things they want, but have been unable to get through the legislative process. Under the guise of globalization, participating nations really are surrendering their right to self-govern under this treaty.

New World Order conspiracy theories, that have previously been written off as a joke, suddenly look frighteningly real when viewed through the TPP and the far-reaching corporate empowerment it enables.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was negotiated in secret for a reason, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called it out back in 2013, when she said,

If people knew what was going on they would stop it.

There may still be a chance to stop this poor excuse for a trade deal. Tell your elected representatives not to sell out our country to corporate interests. You can find contact information here.


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Gracie Lou

Gracie Lou

Gracie Lou is a political junkie, animal rights advocate, and award-winning writer. She believes that if people can stand on line to buy junk food, they can stand on line to vote.
Gracie Lou