Opponents of sprawling and secretive international agreements won a significant victory today when U.S. Senators voted to block the advancement of its Fast Track trade bill. The legislation would have allowed massive undemocratic trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to be rushed through to ratification, and legitimized the nontransparent and corporate-dominated negotiations proposing restrictive digital regulations that threaten the Internet and users’ rights.
EFF is just one of several hundred organizations organizing to stop Fast Track for TPP and TTIP, and our members alone sent tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets to lawmakers to come out against this legislation. TPP proponents needed 60 votes to proceed with a debate on Fast Track and came up short by only eight. That single-digit shortfall shows why it was so crucial that we all flooded our representatives with messages that Internet regulations do not belong in these backroom deals. Your actions were crucial to today’s win.
Today is not the end of the Fast Track fight. Despite the huge blow to their efforts, TPP and TTIP proponents will not back down easily. President Obama has already blasted his mailing lists to try and win more support for the next big push to pass the bill. It’s likely a new version would still fall far short of addressing the secrecy of negotiations. But we can come away from this news empowered and energized because it’s a clear sign that we’re succeeding at convincing Congress to come out against these international corporate deals.