Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio says he strongly opposes a bill that would give President Obama the authority to fast track U.S. trade deals.
According to DeFazio, fast track authority grants power to the executive branch to negotiate free trade agreements with little congressional input. He says when a free trade agreement is submitted this way, Congress must pass it within 90-days with an up or down vote, no amendments, and limited debate.
DeFazio says the bill is the first step in ratifying a free trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP. He says it will hurt American manufacturing jobs, strip environmental protections and decrease worker safety standards.
DeFazio: "This is the same way that NAFTA was jammed through Congress, WTO and special preferences for China were rammed through Congress. No! This is wrong! We need a new trade policy for America that will bring and keep jobs home and I will oppose this usurpation of our legislative authority, this so-called fast track, this railroading of a disastrous policy through Congress, with all my powers."
DeFazio says Congress will give up its authority to regulate trade, leaving the president to negotiate secretly with corporations and foreign leaders.