Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

House Kills TPP Fast-Track, Huge Blow to Corporate-Friendly Trade Agenda

Climate

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday dealt a serious blow to President Obama's corporate-backed trade agenda, while erecting a major stumbling block for proponents of Fast Track, or trade promotion authority.

The House on Friday kicked the can further down the road on Fast Track. Credit: Electric Frontier Foundation

After a tense showdown and multiple votes in the chamber, a final decision on Fast Track was ultimately deferred, affording a delay that critics say could further scuttle the trade authority.

"Today’s votes to stall Fast Track and TPP are a major win for anyone who cares about climate change," said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. "This disastrous deal would extend the world's dependence on fracked gas, forbid our negotiators from ever using trade agreements in the fight against global warming, and make it easier for big polluters to burn carbon while suing anyone who gets in the way."

She continued: "That message clearly broke through today, as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi got up, bucked enormous pressure, and rallied against the deal, specifically citing concerns about its impact on climate change. Today was a big win, but the thousands of climate activists across the country who stood up and linked arms with fellow progressives to get us here won’t rest until Fast Track and TPP are dead for good."

A bill on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which would provide aid to workers displaced because of so-called "free trade" agreements, had been packaged with Fast Track authority, and a vote against either doomed the total package. Legislators opposed to Fast Track had hoped to derail the entire package by voting against TAA.

And derail it they did, voting 126-302 against TAA.

Read page 1

Moments later, the chamber did pass a stand-alone version of Fast Track. But, as the New York Times explains, because the Senate version linked TAA and Fast Track, the House vote "would force the Senate to take up a trade bill all over again. And without trade adjustment assistance alongside it, passing trade promotion authority in the Senate would be highly doubtful."

Instead, the House will reportedly take up TAA again next week.

Still, progressives viewed Friday's deferral of a final decision as a victory even as they cautioned against becoming complacent.

"I applaud the House of Representatives for the vote today," said Sen. Bernie Sanders in a statement after the vote. "While the fight will no doubt continue, today’s vote is a victory for America’s working people and for the environment. It is clearly a defeat for corporate America, which has outsourced millions of decent-paying jobs and wants to continue doing just that."

Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth added: "Today’s move to delay final decision on the trade package represents a significant victory in the fight to ensure that toxic trade agreements like the TPP do not get bulldozed through Congress." But he noted the victory "is not decisive. Friends of the Earth and others will remain vigilant to ensure that future efforts to pass Fast Track and climate-destroying trade agreements are defeated."

As Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch pointed out after the vote, "Passing trade bills opposed by a majority of Americans does not get easier with delay because the more time people have to understand what’s at stake, the angrier they get and the more they demand that their congressional representatives represent their will."

This story is developing. Follow ongoing reaction to the votes, and their implications, on Twitter:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Palau Authorities Burn Vietnamese Illegal Fishing Boats Saying ‘We Will Not Tolerate Poachers in Our Ocean’

In Response to Controversial EPA Fracking Report, Bill Introduced to Close Loopholes and Protect Water

Mark Ruffalo to Jon Stewart: We Have a 50-State Plan to Power America on 100% Renewable Energy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less