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Union Releases Ad To Oppose New Trade Legislation

The AFL-CIO began a four-week ad campaign Monday designed to target members of Congress and encourage them to oppose trade reform known as fast track.

Fast track, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), is designed to give the president the authority to negotiate international trade agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster.

The last variation of TPA ended in 2007, at least for new trade deals, but now the AFL-CIO is upset such legislation might be renewed.

“Today, the AFL-CIO and its affiliates began an unconventional four-week ad campaign designed to ensure that when Congress returns this November, they do not undermine our already fragile economy by moving forward with any form of ‘Fast Track’ trade legislation,” a press release from the union declared.

The ads, will be running throughout the metro system, including at the Capitol South Metro station on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. through November 23.

“Fast Track is a misguided and undemocratic policy that advances the corporate trade agenda and bad deals like NAFTA, CAFTA, and the Korea FTA,” AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, said in a statement.

He went on to say, “Congress must end the secrecy and create a new process to develop and implement trade, investment and economic policies that will promote good jobs, rising wages, a clean environment and a fair economy for us all.  America’s workers simply can’t afford more Fast Track.”

Bryan Riley, a senior policy analyst in trade policy at the Heritage Foundation, disagrees and notes that historically such legislation has been used in positive ways to promote free trade .

“Historically, Trade Promotion Authority or Fast Track was used to complete trade agreements,” Riley told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Much of the reason fast track was used in the past was because other countries would be more hesitant to make trade deals with the executive because Congress could make changes.

“Unions and environmental groups have tended in recent years to oppose trade agreements,” said.“They’re just opposed to trade and this is just a way for them to block later trade agreements.”

Back in January, the White House said in a statement, “Trade Promotion Authority is a key part of a comprehensive strategy to increase exports and support more American jobs at higher wages, including in a stronger manufacturing sector.”

“The United States has the most open markets in the world, but our products and services still face barriers abroad.  That’s why we need to use every tool we have to knock down trade barriers that prevent American goods and services from being exported,” the statement also noted.

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