by Tom Broderick
There are plenty of reasons to oppose passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the TPP will facilitate large corporations in closing down jobs in the United States and off-shoring them to countries with lower labor costs and/or fewer regulations. This will result in more income inequality in the U.S. and greater corporate power globally.
The TPP will increase the importation of food into the U.S. while decreasing safety inspection. The governments of the other eleven countries included in the agreement would be allowed to declare the food safety inspection process of their countries the equivalent of ours. These eleven other countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Nothing personal, but I’d feel safer if food inspection was carried out by U.S. trained food inspectors responsible to our populace.
Large pharmaceutical corporations will be granted new monopoly rights and patent extensions to keep lower cost generic drugs off the market. This will lead to higher priced medicines needed to save lives.
Our federal government has a “Buy American” policy that calls for U.S. tax dollars to be spent, where possible, at U.S. based companies that produce goods or provide services. This means that we are investing in the people of the United States, simply a smart practice. The TPP calls for an end to this, and that is a recipe for an economic system that grossly favors return on corporate investment over the common good.
Big investment firms want to roll back Wall Street reforms that seek to impose regulations on large banks. These Wall Street banksters want to be able to engage in high risk gambling that puts Main Street in jeopardy. Why wouldn’t they? Being too big to fail means everyday tax payers will be expected to bail them out again.
Perhaps the most insidious provision is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). Foreign corporations will be able to by-pass our judicial system and directly sue the U.S. government before tribunals overseen by private/corporate lawyers acting as judge and jury. The tribunals could compel our government to hand over tax dollars to corporations claiming loss of revenue due to regulations that cover issues ranging from a clean environment to public health to public interest policies.
According to Global Trade Watch, the TPP would “newly empower more than 1,000 additional corporations in TPP countries, which own more than 9,200 additional subsidiaries in the United States, to launch investor-state cases against the U.S. government.” Such cases would never appear before our judicial system.
Falsely called a trade agreement, of the thirty chapters in the TPP, only six deal with traditional trade issues like tariffs and duties The agreement was crafted behind closed doors with the assistance of 500 “official” U.S. trade advisers representing corporate interests. The public and our elected officials were kept in the dark. The TPP can only be enacted by our elected Congressional Representatives. We can stop this corporate power grab with public pressure.
Below are the names and local phone numbers of the U.S. Representatives from Illinois. Find your representative, call their office and tell whoever answers the phone that you want to speak to someone about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Tell that person that you oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and want your Congress person to represent your voice when and if the vote comes to the floor.
Rep. Bobby Rush, Democrat, 1st Congressional District, Chicago office: 773 224 6500.
Rep. Robin Kelly, Democrat, 2nd CD, Matteson office: 708 679 0078.
Rep. Daniel Lipinski, Democrat, 3rd CD, Chicago office: 773 948 6223.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Democrat, 4th CD, Chicago office: 773 342 0774.
Rep. Mike Quigley(1), Democrat, 5th CD, Chicago office: 773 267 5926.
Rep. Peter J. Roskam, Republican, 6th CD, West Chicago office: 630 232 0006.
Rep. Danny K. Davis, Democrat, 7th CD, Chicago office: 773 533 7520.
Rep. Tammy Duckworth(2), Democrat, 8th CD, Schaumburg office: 847 413 1959.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Democrat, 9th CD, Chicago office: 773 506 7100.
Rep. Bob Dold, Republican, 10th CD, Lincolnshire office: 847 793 8400.
Rep. Bill Foster, Democrat, 11th CD, Aurora office: 630 585 7672.
Rep. Mike Bost, Republican, 12th CD, Carbondale office: 618 457 5787.
Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican, 13th CD, Champaign office: 217 403 4690.
Rep. Randy Hultgren, Republican, 14th CD, Compton Hills office: 630 584 2734.
Rep. John Shimkus, Republican, 15th CD, Danville office, 217 446 0664.
Rep. Adam Kinziner, Republican, 16th CD, Ottawa office: 815 431 9271.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, Democrat, 17th CD, Peoria office: 309 966 1813.
Rep. Darin Lahood, Republican, 18th CD, Peoria office: 309 671 7027.
Also call your two U.S. Senators. Follow the same steps as outlined when calling your Representative.
Sen. Richard Durbin, Democrat, Chicago office: 312 353 4952.
Sen. Mark Kirk, Republican, Chicago office: 312 886 3506.
If you don’t know who your Representative is, CLICK HERE.
(1) Rep. Mike Quigley is the only Illinois Democrat to vote in support of Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track), which was a procedural vote to allow only an up or down vote on the TPP. He joined all the Illinois Republicans with his vote. He also supports passage of the TPP. And for what it’s worth, his father was a union worker whom he credits for helping put Mike through college. Good wages?
(2) Rep. Tammy Duckworth is running for the U.S. Senate. If successful in the primary, she will face Sen. Mark Kirk. When talking with Rep. Duckworth’s office, mention that you’d like her to vote against the TPP whether she is in the House or the Senate. And perhaps wish her well in her Senate race.