WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, the U.S. Senate voted to advance Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority. The 60-37 motion sets up a final vote tomorrow that is almost certain to pass, which will then send the bill to President Obama’s desk to become law. Fast Track makes it virtually certain that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and other secret trade deals will become law.
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 Holmes Wilson, Director of Fight for the Future.
Today, the Senate chose to completely ignore the public and advance Fast Track anyway. People from across the political spectrum spoke out in overwhelming numbers against Fast Track because they know that when the government acts in secret, with only corporate lobbyists to advise them, the results are always terrible."
"These trade deals are written by government bureaucrats and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors, and now neither Congress nor the the public will have any meaningful ability to debate them. A simple yes or no vote with 30 days of review after a multi-year secret negotiation process isn’t public oversight– it’s a farce."
"These secret deals are about getting big, entrenched industries everything they want that they couldn’t get passed in the open. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an MPAA lobbyist’s dream bill for exporting America’s worst copyright laws to the rest of the world, filled with bits and pieces of all the bills that they couldn’t get passed in Congress."
"We’re disappointed. We’d hoped that 2015 would be the year when we’d finally stop the lobbyists behind SOPA and PIPA from passing Internet policy in secret, through trade deals. They won this round, but the loophole that trade agreements give lobbying groups for passing policy in secret remains an insane insult to democracy. We’ll close it someday.
Fight for the Future is a digital rights nonprofit that has driven more than 170,000 emails and more than 18,000 phone calls to Congress opposing Fast Track in the last two 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.