Opinion: Welch waffling on trade pact question
I recently signed an online petition to Congressman Welch, urging him to vote against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Here is his reply, and my response to it. Evidently, he needs to hear from lots of people encouraging him to take a more decisive stand against the TPP.
“Dear Ms. McKay,
“Thank you for contacting me about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. I appreciate hearing your views on this issue.
“When properly negotiated, trade agreements can create good American jobs, protect workers and our environment, and spur economic growth. Unbalanced trade agreements can send jobs offshore and benefit a narrow class of investors. Recent agreements have boosted corporate profits, but failed to boost wages and employment for American workers.
“The TPP trade agreement would lower trade barriers in the Asia-Pacific region with the participation of the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. I am skeptical that it will benefit American workers and will make my decision on the basis of whether it is likely to increase wages and jobs in this country. I voted against the President’s request to ‘fast track’ its consideration by Congress with no opportunity for amendments, which passed in the House on June 12, 2015, and the President signed into law on June 29, 2015.
“I will keep your views in mind as I review the terms of the final agreement. Please keep in touch. I look forward to seeing you in Vermont soon.
“PETER WELCH Member of Congress”
Dear Congressman Welch:
Your response puzzles me. It seems a carefully neutral nod to both pros and cons of trade agreements in general. Yet surely you’re aware of Sen. Sanders’ unequivocal denunciation of the TPP. The “liberal” read on this bill is uniformly negative. I hope you will have NO hesitation in voting against such a blatantly pro-corporate, anti-environment and anti-labor bill.
You must know that under the TPP, corporations gain the right to sue governments (in “secret” courts outside existing legal systems) for regulations that encroach on profits. This would render government itself meaningless, along with local and national self-determination. Surely there are no “pros” to this for anyone but the 1 percent. This is not an issue to waffle on.
I will keep a close eye on congressional votes on this bill, and do my own voting — and public speaking — accordingly.