This We Do Know About TPP: The Shouting Is Already Loud
Even though President Obama has not yet released details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership announced Monday, supporters and opponents are making their voices heard — at full volume.
Business leaders and interest groups hope their impassioned pleas will sway Congress, which must vote on the proposed deal next year.
This is what the cheers sounded like:
"TPP is a major win not only for the beef industry, but for all U.S. export products, growing the economy while supporting jobs and investments in agriculture and technology." — Philip Ellis, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
This is what the boos sounded like:
TPP will hurt factory jobs and, by raising some medicine prices, "contribute to preventable suffering and death." — Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen's Access to Medicines Program
So, either the trade agreement will deliver good times — or inflict suffering and death. Pick one.
Those are the kind of intense feelings lawmakers will have to sort out when they review the trade agreement that promises to more closely tie together the United States with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The White House says TPP would: phase out import tariffs that impede trade; establish uniform rules on intellectual property; crack down on wildlife trafficking; and open up the Internet in more countries.
Obama is cheerleader-in-chief on TPP. He says it will help "our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes that various countries put on our products."
Moreover, TPP "includes the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history, and ... it promotes a free and open Internet," he said.
Supporters include U.S. tech companies, cattlemen, farmers and apparel makers who say TPP will boost sales around the Pacific Rim.
But on the president's left, union leaders, along with many environmentalist and public-interest groups, aren't buying any of it. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, says the deal would be "disastrous" because it could increase low-wage competition.
"Wall Street and other big corporations have won again. It is time for the rest of us to stop letting multinational corporations rig the system to pad their profits at our expense," said Sanders, who says he will fight the deal in the Senate.
But exactly when such a vote might happen is unclear. It could come as early as February — or as late as December 2016.
Here's what happens next:
So here's what we know: The deal's details have not yet been released, and a timeline for a U.S. vote cannot yet be predicted. Still, everyone is up in arms. Welcome to Washington.
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