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Congressman Raul Grijalva: Stop the TPP

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PHOTO: A public meeting in Phoenix tomorrow is focused on educating voters about the TPP trade agreement, as Congress prepares to vote on fast-track authority for the controversial and secretive trade deal. Photo courtesy of the Arizona AFL-CIO.
PHOTO: A public meeting in Phoenix tomorrow is focused on educating voters about the TPP trade agreement, as Congress prepares to vote on fast-track authority for the controversial and secretive trade deal. Photo courtesy of the Arizona AFL-CIO.
 By Troy WildeContact
June 4, 2015

PHOENIX - Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Tucson) is holding a public meeting in Phoenix on Friday on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, or TPP.

Congress is preparing to vote on Trade Promotion Authority, also called fast track, which the Senate passed last month.

Rebekah Friend, executive director of the Arizona AFL-CIO, says fast track would give President Obama the power to negotiate the massive trade deal involving the United States and 11 other nations, while restricting the ability of Congress to modify it.

"Once the Congress gives fast-track authority to the president," says Friend, "they will not be able to make any adjustments or amendments to the Trans-Pacific trade agreement."

Friend says opposition to fast-track legislation and the TPP has united labor, conservation, immigration rights and other organizations. According to several news reports from earlier this week, a coalition of organizations presented Congress with petitions containing about two million signatures opposing fast track.

Supporters say the trade deal would open up new opportunities for business, but opponents like Friend say it could cause massive job losses in Arizona and around the country, as previous trade deals have.

"We're involved in this because these trade agreements have not favored American workers," she says. "They have led to the demise of a lot of jobs that American workers and their families depended upon."

Friend says the overarching problem with the TPP is the 1,200 page bill, encompassing some 40 percent of the global economy, which has been negotiated in secret. Very little is known or has been made public about the bill's details.

Grijalva's event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at the UFCW Local 99 hall on North Central Avenue in Phoenix.

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