At the Blues Festival in Portland on the 4th of July, local activists will be leafleting and asking folks to call Congressman Blumenauer and tell him to vote no on Fast Track. If you want to help out, meet under the sky bridge at the World Trade Center at 3pm (for the 1st shift) and 5pm (for the 2nd shift).
Also, there is a NW Regional Call-In Day to your Congressional delegation asking them to vote no on Fast Track this Monday, July 2nd.
Fast Track could be up for a vote before August, so the issue is URGENT!!
DECLARE A "FAIR TRADE FOURTH OF JULY":
NO TO FAST TRACK!
On Wednesday, July 4, it will have been 225 years since our forefathers and foremothers got into a rumble about trade and lack of democratic representation, and declared independence from Great Britain. That's why the framers of the U.S. Constitution gave exclusive authority over trade to the Congress, the governing body closest to the people, to make certain that it wasn't controlled by a "king-like" president. But now President Bush and a big-business coalition called "USTrade" want those rights in their hands, disrupting the vital system of checks and balances on which democracy rests.
"Fast Track" is a method of making trade policy cooked up by former President Richard Nixon so that the executive branch locks in a three-in-one power grab from our legislators. Here are the Constitutionally-given rights that the U.S. Congress -- and U.S. voters -- lose under Fast Track:
* The President gets the ability not just to negotiate trade deals with other countries, but to sign the U.S. on to them before Congress ever votes on them.
* When Congress finally gets to see the finished agreement, debate about the pros and cons of the deal -- critical to an informed decision -- is strictly limited.
* Congress is not allowed to amend the agreement. They must take an up or down vote, which means that they can be forced to choose between a bad deal or no deal at all, instead of seeking a compromise that could benefit everyone.
The U.S. has successfully completed hundreds of trade agreements without Fast Track. So if Fast Track undermines Constitutional checks and balances and keeps the democratic process from working, why have it? Because major corporations and the Bush Administration see an opportunity to get around the Congress to get all sorts of big business goodies built into trade deals that they'd never get if they were put up for Congressional vote. And it's a way to get total control of an important aspect of U.S. economic and foreign policy.
Recess is coming -- recess is coming -- and so is your chance to make sure Congress stops the "Fast Track" away from democracy! Your Members of Congress will be home for Congressional recess the week of July 1-7, attending community Independence Day celebrations, meeting with constituents, and holding open office hours to listen to your concerns. Tell your Representative to declare Congress' independence from corporate-managed trade!
* Call your Representative's office to find out what events he or she will attend in your hometown: 4th of July parades and picnics, open office hours, etc. (Local phone numbers are available in your government "blue pages.")
* Attend these events with your friends and family, and get a moment with the Representative to ask for his or her vote against Fast Track. Give them your address, and ask that they send you a letter expressing their commitment.
* If you can't go, CALL. Talking to your Representative or his or her staff on the phone is the next best thing to being there in person.
Have questions? Need information? Able to report your Representative's position on Fast Track? Visit www.tradewatch.org or call Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch at 202-546-4996 and ask for any member of the trade field team!