On the 7th of December, protesters set up a banner and a light show outside the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). They were there because negotiations for the TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership are back in town. Protesters are demanding that the still-classified text of TPP drafts-kept secret even from members of Congress expected to vote on it-be released to the public
Despite overwhelming opposition to “fast track” and little movement internationally, Obama still hopes to get final text of the proposed TPP trade deal written this week.
Even if a TPP deal is made, without “fast track” authority in Congress it would be subject to amendment, which would in turn force a return to more negotiations and probably sink the deal. Fast track is opposed by enough members of both parties to sink it, with labor and environmentalists within the Dems breaking with Obama on this issue. The Tea Party and some other GOP factions also oppose fast track on both sovereignty grounds and simple opposition to giving any more power to Obama on any issue. As a result, a vote for fast-track pits the pro-business wings of both parties against the bases of both parties. Any member of Congress who votes for fast track-in either party-risks his seat. The numbers in Congress just don’t add up for those who want more foreign investor lawsuits, seed and drug patents, and Internet censorship via the TPP.