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It's not just conservative outlets asking this question; in light of recent leaks, even Huffington Post is asking questions about it.
Remember, this is the president who ran on a campaign promising transparency. He broke that promise mere weeks into his first term, but this secret "trade" deal -- which, thanks to the recent leak, we now know goes far beyond mere trade -- just takes the cake. It's been in the works for years, and the only people allowed to see it were business insiders -- not even Congress, the only body with the authority to approve international treaties, has been allowed to see the drafts or sit in on the negotiations, a huge break from past practice even under George W. Bush.
And, again, it's not conservatives and Republicans asking these questions -- Obama's own party is turning on him:
Supporters of the deal say to me, 'They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.' Think about that. Real people, people whose jobs are at stake, small-business owners who don't want to compete with overseas companies that dump their waste in rivers and hire workers for a dollar a day -- those people, people without an army of lobbyists -- they would be opposed. I believe if people across this country would be opposed to a particular trade agreement, then maybe that trade agreement should not happen.
-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
No wonder Obama wants it kept secret -- this sounds like a Republican caricature's wet dream!
It appears that the investor state provision being considered as part of TPP will still amount to a corporate handout at the expense of consumers despite the assurances of our negotiators. We need strong language to prevent multinational corporations -- like Big Tobacco -- from using trade agreements to challenge health and safety laws.
It's telling when Members of Congress and their staff have an easier time accessing national security documents than proposed trade deals, but if I were negotiating this deal I suppose I wouldn't want people to see it either. Trade agreements should lift American workers and their counterparts abroad, rather than creating a race to the bottom.
-- Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Let that sink in for a moment: "It's telling when Members of Congress and their staff have an easier time accessing national security documents than proposed trade deals". What the hell is going on??
The 56 pages of the Investor chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are worse than imagined and must be a wake up call for our nation. Amazingly, this chapter is sealed for four years after either adoption or rejection of the TPP. Everything we read and learn makes "Fast Track" authority unimaginable. It's secrecy on top of secrecy. [Emphasis mine]
-- [private] Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America (CWA)
This isn't even the Pelosi-esque "we have to pass it so that you can find out what's in it" anymore -- even if it is passed, you still don't get to know what's in it until everyone who's voted on it is well passed being held accountable for it!
And Obama wants Congress to fast-track this 800-page secretive deal -- before even the parts that aren't kept "sealed" are released to the public!
Maybe we can all get behind Sen. Rand Paul's "Read the Bills Act", which would forbid this kind of practice and require bills to be published at least 1 day before they are voted on for every 20 pages in the bill; this 800-page behemoth would have to sit in the public's eye for 40 days if Paul's act were to be passed.