WASHINGTON, DC—Moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives dealt a blow to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and other secret trade deals by overwhelmingly voting down a critical Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) provision linked to the fast track authority package. Under the rules for the fast track debate, the vote means that the current version of the "Fast Track" bill sent over by the Senate is dead, and it pushes future votes further into election season, putting the TPP and other secret agreements on shakier ground than ever before.
The House may reconsider the TAA vote next week in attempt to salvage the badly beaten Fast Track package, but a growing and politically diverse coalition stands ready to fight it going forward if necessary.
Fight for the Future, an Internet-freedom nonprofit best known for their role organizing massive online protests around SOPA, online privacy, and net neutrality, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director, Evan Greer:
Today, the Internet wins again. The public has resoundingly rejected every attempt to limit our online freedom from SOPA to attacks on net neutrality. Today, Internet users around the world made their voices heard when Congress rejected an utterly broken and outdated trade negotiations process that has been abused for far too long to advance the interests of the largest industries at the expense of innovation and basic human rights.
Every month pro-Fast Track members of Congress have claimed that they would pass it and every month the overwhelming resistance from the public has forced them to abandon or delay their plans at the last minute. Trade Promotion Authority legislation will put us on a Fast Track to Internet censorship and decreased privacy, and would allow bureaucrats and lobbyists to make crucial decisions that impact the future of the Web in total secrecy.
Lobbyists from the MPAA and RIAA, the same folks that brought us Internet censorship bills like SOPA and PIPA and terrible trade agreements like ACTA, thought that the closed-door Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations would be the perfect place for them to push through extreme copyright provisions that could be devastating for online free speech and the startup economy.
Today, we can celebrate a victory over this secrecy, and prepare ourselves to continue fighting for a world where decisions that impact the Web are made with transparency and accountability.
Fight for the Future is a digital rights nonprofit that has driven more than 130,000 emails and more than 15,000 phone calls to Congress in recent months, rallied more than 7,500 websites for an online protest, and helped coordinate a letter to Congress from more than 250 tech companies expressing transparency and tech related concerns about Fast Track legislation.
The group made headlines in March when they flew a 30’ blimp over several of Senator Ron Wyden’s town hall meetings calling for him to "Save the Internet" by opposing Fast Track for the TPP, and then parked a Jumbotron on capitol hill to display the viral video they made about the stunt. More recently, Fight for the Future made a splash on the hill when they delivered actual rubber stamps to every house Republican’s office with a mock letter from President Obama asking Congress to "please rubber stamp my secret trade agenda."
Fight for the Future works to defend the Internet as a free and open platform for expression and creativity, and is best known for their role organizing the massive online protests against SOPA, the Internet Slowdown for net neutrality, and the Reset The Net campaign for online privacy, which was endorsed by Edward Snowden.