WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other leading congressional critics of a proposed Pacific Rim trade deal held a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday as a coalition of labor, environmental and religious groups launched a “day of action” to urge Congress to block a vote on the job-killing trade pact.
The coalition of multi-national corporations, lobbyists and other backers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership think their best chance to ratify the unpopular deal would come during a lame-duck session of Congress after the Nov. 8 elections.
“We must not make it easier for corporate America to ship jobs to countries where desperate workers make pennies an hour,” Sanders said. “We feel confident that we speak for a strong majority of the people in this country who are urging Congress to say ‘no’ to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
Bad trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and permanent normal trade relations with China contributed to the loss of 60,000 factories and millions of decent-paying jobs since 2001.
Sanders condemned a provision in the Pacific trade proposal that gives corporations the right to challenge laws that might reduce expected profits. “That is not what a trade agreement should be about,” he said. A similar provision, which is called the Investor-State Dispute settlement, allowed TransCanada to sue the United States for $15 billion after President Barack Obama stopped the Keystone XL pipeline.
Sanders was joined at the news conference by Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.).
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have all voiced opposition to voting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year.