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Critics to Colorado Congressman: No Fast Track for Trade Deal

PHOTO: Community, environmental and labor groups are urging Colorado Congressman Jared Polis to reject President Obama’s request for "fast track" authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership. Photo courtesy of polis.house.gov.
February 18. 2015
PHOTO: Community, environmental and labor groups are urging Colorado Congressman Jared Polis to reject President Obama’s request for "fast track" authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership. Photo courtesy of polis.house.gov.

BOULDER - A coalition of community, labor and environmental groups held a rally outside U.S. Rep. Jared Polis' office in Boulder on Tuesday. They want Polis, a Democrat, to oppose President Obama's request for "fast track" authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade deal involving the United States and 11 other countries.

Carolyn Bninski, an organizer for the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, said the TPP was drafted in secret by some 600 global corporations without citizen input. She said she thinks Polis needs to step on the brakes.

"This is what we need him to do, is to say 'no' to fast track and allow the regular constitutional process to happen," she said, "so that both Congress and the people of the United States will have some input into the TPP."

Critics of the TPP come from both sides of the aisle. Rick Manning with Americans for Limited Government said the concept of free trade appeals to many on the right, but he called the TPP a managed trade agreement negotiated by special interests to maximize their profits.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said the TPP would make it hard to rein in Wall Street speculation, the kind that caused the economy to tank in 2008. Bninski said the TPP would send more U.S. jobs overseas, and would allow corporations to challenge any U.S. law or regulation if it got in the way of profits.

"You know, it's really a way to undermine democracy, to undermine our capacity, our ability, our right to rule ourselves," she said.

If "fast track" authority is approved, Bninski said, Congress would have to vote on the 1,200-page bill with limited debate, and without the ability to make amendments.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO