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Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Representing the 7th District of New York

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Velazquez Speaks Against TPP on House Floor

Velázquez Speaks Against TPP on House Floor
September 21, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) today spoke on the House floor in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that could come before Congress by the end of the year.  Video of her speech can be accessed here and below are her remarks as prepared for delivery.  

Trans Pacific Partnership Floor Statement
September 21, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring attention to another bad trade deal that could soon be forced upon the American people.  It is possible that the Trans-Pacific Partnership – or TPP -- could be brought before this body for a final vote before the end of the year and end of this Congress.  

We have seen, time and again, what bad trade deals do to our communities and to working families across this nation.  When NAFTA was under consideration, American workers were told that the trade benefits would mean more jobs and economic opportunity.

What actually happened? We saw a net loss of 700,000 jobs thanks to NAFTA.  

So, if history is any guide, we know what to expect from TPP.  But, in many ways this agreement is even more harmful than NAFTA.  

In fact, the core of this deal is allowing foreign corporations to sue the U.S. government over regulations they simply do not like.  Imagine – any time there is an environmental regulation, or worker safety regulation that a company does not care for, they can sue.  

And, these cases will not go through the regular legal process. Instead, TPP creates a special tribunal of three corporate lawyers to evaluate the case.  And if a company convinces these three lawyers that a law or regulation violates their TPP rights? Well, then the American taxpayer has to pay these corporations enormous compensation.  

Let’s be clear --- there’s no appeal process. There’s no way to reverse these decisions.  The TPP could put the taxpayer on the hook for almost unlimited sums of money. 

It is no wonder that this agreement was negotiated in private. While corporations were given plenty of opportunity to comment on how they wanted the agreement to look, the public and workers were not given a seat in the room – or even the chance to review the text before it was finalized.   

The end result – unsurprisingly – is an agreement that’s bad for the American people and would affect their daily lives in countless ways.  American workers would find themselves competing for jobs against workers in places like Vietnam who make 65 cents an hour.  

This agreement would require the U.S. to import food that does not meet our own safety standards.  It would mean more expensive prescription drugs for our seniors.  And, it would curtail policies meant to fight climate change.  

Mr. Speaker, the TPP is 6,000 pages long.  It is too big and covers too much. It has too many unintended consequences. There should be no rush to push this agreement through the House before the end of the year.

However, if this agreement is put on the floor this year -- I will vote NO and I encourage all my colleagues to do the same.

Protect working families! Protect the American consumer!  Protect our environment! Vote NO on the TPP!  

I yield back.
 

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