Congress Can — and Should — Declassify the TPP

Congress Can — and Should — Declassify the TPP by Robert Naiman.

From the post:

One of the most controversial aspects of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the fact that the Obama administration has tried to impose a public blockade on the text of the draft agreement.

When Congress votes on whether to grant the president “fast-track authority” to negotiate the TPP — which would bar Congress from making any changes to the secret pact after it’s negotiated — it will effectively be a vote to pre-approve the TPP itself.

Although the other negotiating countries and “cleared” corporate advisers to the US Trade Representative have access to the draft TPP agreement, the American people haven’t been allowed to see it before Congress votes on fast track. Members of Congress can read the draft agreement under heavy restrictions, but they can’t publicly discuss or consult on what they have read.

Correction: The Obama administration hasn’t “tried to impose a public blockade on the text of the draft agreement,” it has succeeded in imposing a public blockage on the text of TPP.

The question is: What is Congress going to do to break the current blockade on the text of the TPP?

Robert has a great writeup of all the reasons why the American public should be allowed to see the text of the TPP. Such as the other parties to the agreement already know what it says, so why not the American people? Interim texts of agreements get published all the time, so why not this one?

The United States Senate or the House of Representatives can declassify the TPP text. I would say to write to your Senators and Representatives, but not this time. Starting Monday, June 1, 2015, I am going to call both of my Senators and my Representative until I have spoken with each one of them personally to express my concern that the TPP text should be available to the American public before it is submitted to Congress for approval. Including any additional or revised versions.

I will be polite and courteous but will keep calling until contact is made. I suggest you do the same. Leave your request that the TPP be declassified (including later versions) by (appropriate body) for the American public with every message.

BTW, keep count of how many calls it takes to speak to your Senator or Representative. It may give you a better understanding of how effective democracy is in the United States.

I first saw this in a tweet by BillMoyers.com.

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