Newscasts

PNS Daily News - December 13, 2019 


Brexit wins at the polls in the U.K.; major changes come to New England immigration courts today; and more than a million acres in California have been cleared for oil and gas drilling.

2020Talks - December 13, 2013  


The House passes legislation to reign in drug prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders is on the upswing, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang plays Iowa congressional candidate J.D. Scholten - who's running against long-time incumbent Steve King - in a game of basketball.

Groups Warn Big Trade Deal Could Be Bad for MO

PHOTO: Missouri groups ranging from trade unions to the Sierra Club are asking Congress to slow down and open the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations to the same scrutiny given other important legislation. Photo credit: kconnors/morguefile.
PHOTO: Missouri groups ranging from trade unions to the Sierra Club are asking Congress to slow down and open the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations to the same scrutiny given other important legislation. Photo credit: kconnors/morguefile.
April 10, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After years of closed-door negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is getting closer to being presented to Congress - and many Missouri organizations, including environmental and labor groups, say they have serious concerns about the deal.

The TPP is a massive international trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

Jim Turner, who chairs the executive committee of the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club, said the lack of transparency raises a large red flag. He said he's particularly concerned with a leaked provision that would empower foreign investors to challenge federal, state and local laws and regulations.

"The trouble is that if foreign corporations make large money claims against the government, that the governments will just wind up invalidating the law which gave rise to the claim," he said. "That can really cancel out environmental protections that we need."

Turner said the Sierra Club has added its voice to the chorus of groups calling on Congress not to fast-track the agreement, which would allow the TPP to leapfrog the customary legislative process and be put to a rapid "up or down" vote without committee hearings or expert testimony, and with limited floor debate.

Jeff Wright, president of United Auto Workers Local 249 at Ford's Kansas City assembly plant, said history has shown large, multinational trade agreements don't yield much of a payoff for the middle class.

"Most of these trade deals are not good for American workers, not just the automotive industry," he said. "To fast-track this thing and to not have Congressional input, not have more eyes on it, it scares the heck out of us. It really does."

Turner said there is also potential for the TPP to greatly increase energy exports for quick profits, including liquefied natural gas. He said that would give rise to an increase in fracking here at home in order to meet the demand.

"Unfortunately, it would enable other nations to become dependent on natural gas that comes out of our soil," he said. "That natural gas needs to remain inside our borders as we adapt to the 21st century."

Political insiders say the issue could come up anytime after Congress reconvenes on Monday.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO