By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Senator Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership
May 19, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Senate has voted 65 to 33 to take up HR 1314, a measure that would allow fast-tracking of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with no amendments or filibuster allowed.
The 12-nation trade pact would remove or lower tariffs and duties in an effort to spark trade among the U.S. and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Together, these nations account for almost 40% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The TPP is supported by corporate lobbying groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who contend the trade deal would be good for business and the economy.
It is opposed by labor and environmental groups, who contend the measure would weaken labor and environmental protections, lower wages and lead to outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas. Senator Elizabeth Warren, speaking at the California Democratic Convention, has also warned that the TPP could undermine banking regulations.
Others argue that it would be irresponsible for the Senate to approve fast-tracking of a bill it hasn’t even read.
California’s two Senators, both Democrats, split on the issue. Senator Dianne Feinstein voted in favor, while Senator Barbara Boxer voted against the fast-tracking.