By: Bernie Sanders
Wall Street and big corporations just won a big victory to advance a disastrous trade deal. Now it’s on us to stop it from becoming law.
This morning, negotiators announced an “agreement in principle” for something called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), meaning it will soon move to Congress for approval.
The TPP would expand the same failed “free trade” policies to 12 other nations that have already cost millions of jobs and shuttered tens of thousands of factories across the United States.
Make no mistake: if TPP passes, it will further hurt consumers and cost American jobs. So we must stop it, together.
In the Senate, I will do all that I can to defeat this agreement. But I need you at my side in this fight, because we will be going against some of the biggest, strongest corporations in the world.
The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA that have been supported by corporate America and that cost America millions of decent-paying jobs.
Since 2001, nearly 60,000 manufacturing plants in this country have been shut down, and we have lost almost 5 million decent-paying manufacturing jobs. NAFTA alone led to the loss of almost three-quarters of a million jobs — the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China cost America four times that number: almost 3 million jobs. These agreements are not the only reason why manufacturing in the United States has declined, but they are important factors.
The TPP would also give multinational corporations the ability to challenge laws passed in the United States that could negatively impact their “expected future profits.” Take, for example, a French waste management firm suing Egypt for over $100 million for increasing the minimum wage and improving labor laws. Egypt’s “crime” in this case is trying to improve life for their low-wage workers. Or Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company, has used this process to sue Germany for $5 billion over its decision to phase out nuclear power. Should the people of Germany have the right to make energy choices on their own or should these decisions be left in the hands of an unelected international tribunal?
We face the same threats here at home if the TPP passes.
Virtually every major union and environmental organization in the United States is against the deal. Major religious groups are as well because they know what it could mean for some of the poorest people on the planet.
Wall Street, corporate America and their representatives in Congress will try to pass this bad trade deal. This is our chance to make our voices heard.
Not a lot of presidential candidates would use their campaigns to influence legislation being considered in Congress. Some candidates haven’t even expressed an opinion on this critical issue, which, frankly, I don’t really understand.
But as I’ve said before, this campaign is not about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Jeb Bush — it’s about the needs of the American people.
And we need a new approach to trade in this country — one that benefits working families and not just the CEOs of multinational corporations.
Thank you for standing with working families.