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[Note: The Republican Leadership is threatening to try to run through Fast Track-TPP again, as soon as this coming Tuesday
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/13/trans-pacific-partnership-fast-track-defeat-now-what ].

From Sen. Boxer speech in the US Senate against Fast Track:
So they say, well, it’s very transparent. Go down and look at it. Well, let me tell you, what you have to do to read this agreement. Follow this. You can only take a few of your staffers who happen to have a security clearance because god knows why this is secure. This is classified.

It’s nothing to do with defense. It has nothing to do with going after ISIS. It has nothing to do with any of that, but it is classified. So I go down with my staff that I could get to go with me, and as soon as I get there, the guard says to me, hand over your electronics.

Okay, I give over my electronics. Then the guard says, you can’t take notes. I said, I can’t take notes? Well, you can take notes, but you have to give them back to me, and I’ll put them in a file. So, I said, wait a minute. I’m gonna take notes, and then you’re gonna take my notes away from me, and then you’re going to have them in a file, and you can read my notes? Not on your life.

So, instead of standing in a corner trying to figure out a way to bring a trade bill to the floor that doesn’t do anything for the Middle Class, that is held so secretively that you need to go down there and hand over your electronics and give up your right to take notes and bring ’em back to your office, they ought to come over here and figure out how to help the Middle Class; how to extend the Highway Bill, how to raise the minimum wage; how to move toward clean energy; how to fix our currency manipulation that we see abroad.”
[…]
Of the 12 countries in the TPP, three have minimum wages that are higher than ours: Australia, New Zealand and Canada. But, most of the countries have far lower wages including Chile with a wage of $2.14; Peru with a minimum wage of $1.38; Vietnam with a minimum wage of 70 CENTS. Brunei and Singapore – They don’t even have a minimum wage. They don’t even have a minimum wage. So, I think I have laid out the argument as to why all these promises about better wages; more jobs falls flat on its face, when you look at that last Free Trade Deal. And this one is with more countries.

And, then there is the Investor State Dispute Settlement or ISDS, which will allow polluters to sue for unlimited money damages. For example, they could use it to try to undo the incredible work in California on climate change by claiming that they were put at a disadvantage by having to live with California’s laws. Polluters could seek to undermine the President’s clean power plant, or the toxic mercury pollution under the mercury and air toxic standard. Or, they could sue because they had to use, spend a little money to make sure that they didn’t dump toxins into our waterways, drinking water.” (Some highlights from US Senator Barbara Boxer speech, 12 May 2015)

Boxer Speaks Out Against “Fast Track” Trade Legislation

Unofficial transcript of Senator Boxer speech:
May 12, 2015

Mr. President, I appreciate the leadership of Senator Wyden on this, because if you leave out certain bills that help workers, then what you are left with, essentially, is a package that ignores their needs. I do want to say that I hope we will not proceed to this debate on this free trade agreement. And I stand here as someone who comes from California where I have voted for half of the trade agreements, and I voted against half. So, I think I’m a fair voice for what we should be doing.

Now, if there’s one unifying principle about the economics of today, it is this: the Middle Class is having a very hard time in America today. Perhaps the worst time in modern history.

A new University of California study released last week makes it clear how our Middle Class is being hollowed out. In my state we have a dynamic work force; we have dynamic entrepreneurs; we’re doing very well. But, this study found that the lowest paid 12% of California workers have seen their real wages decline by 12%, since 1979. Now think about that. This is a great country. We always say we have to be optimistic about tomorrow. You do everything right, you play by the rules, and your income for your family in real terms goes down by 12%. There’s something wrong with this. I think everyone will say they want to do more for the middle class, and there is a straightforward agenda we could turn to do just that.

But, instead what we do we turn to? A trade agreement that threatens the middle class, that threatens the middle class. So what should we be doing here? Not confabbing in a corner over there about how to push a trade bill on this floor that doesn’t help working America.

We should pass a highway bill. The Highway Bill is critical. Good paying jobs; businesses that thrive in all of our communities.

More than 60,000 of our bridges are structurally deficient. More than 50% of our roads are not in good condition. But, oh, no, even though the Highway Bill expires, we have no more authority to expend money out of that fund come the end of May.

They’re bringing forward a trade bill that is a threat to the Middle Class.

Why don’t we increase the minimum wage. The minimum wage needs to be raised. Oh, no, they don’t want to do that – haven’t done it in years. States are doing it. Oh, no. Let’s keep people working full time in poverty. So, instead of confabbing over there on how to push a trade bill onto this floor, we ought to be raising the minimum wage.

What else should we be doing? We should make college more affordable. We have people here on social security in this country that are still paying off their student loans. That is a shame upon America. They can’t even refinance their student loan. So instead of confabbing in the corner about how to bring a trade bill to this floor, why don’t we fix the student loan problem? Why don’t we raise the minimum wage? Why don’t we pass a Highway Bill that is funded to help Middle Class people?

It’s all a matter of perspective, my friends. We still haven’t done equal pay for equal work, so women are not making what they should. And that hurts our women when they retire. They’ve lost more than $400,000 in income. So, instead of standing in the corner and figuring out how to bring a trade bill to the floor, they ought to be fixing equal pay for equal work.

They ought to be fixing student loans for our students. They ought to be passing a highway bill. They ought to be increasing the minimum wage. And they ought to deal with currency fairness, because our trading partners, they play with their currency in order to push forward their products. But, oh, no, that is not on the agenda. We could have an agenda for a vibrant middle class, but instead of that we are moving toward a trade bill. Now, I know there are some who disagree with me, who come down to this floor and say we’re going to create jobs with this trade bill, it’s going to be great.

Well, let them explain how we’re not going to see some of the 12 million jobs that are manufacturing jobs in America not move to countries who pay 56 cents an hour; another country, $1.19 hour. I know they’ll disagree with me. They’re making all of these promises, and you know the more I hear it, the more I hear the echoes of the NAFTA debate.

Now, that was a long time ago, and I was here then. In 1988, I voted for Fast Track Authority to allow the administration to negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Then, five years later, I saw the deal. It was a bad deal, and I voted no. But, it was too late, because when I saw the deal, I knew I couldn’t fix it, because that’s what Fast Track is. And what this majority here today is saying to us is: vote for Fast Track and give up your right, Senator Boxer, from amending this trade agreement.

So they say, well, it’s very transparent. Go down and look at it. Well, let me tell you, what you have to do to read this agreement. Follow this. You can only take a few of your staffers who happen to have a security clearance because god knows why this is secure. This is classified.

It’s nothing to do with defense. It has nothing to do with going after ISIS. It has nothing to do with any of that, but it is classified. So I go down with my staff that I could get to go with me, and as soon as I get there, the guard says to me, hand over your electronics.

Okay, I give over my electronics. Then the guard says, you can’t take notes. I said, I can’t take notes? Well, you can take notes, but you have to give them back to me, and I’ll put them in a file. So, I said, wait a minute. I’m gonna take notes, and then you’re gonna take my notes away from me, and then you’re going to have them in a file, and you can read my notes? Not on your life.

So, instead of standing in a corner trying to figure out a way to bring a trade bill to the floor that doesn’t do anything for the middle class, that is held so secretively that you need to go down there and hand over your electronics and give up your right to take notes and bring ’em back to your office, they ought to come over here and figure out how to help the Middle Class; how to extend the Highway Bill; how to raise the minimum wage; how to move toward clean energy; how to fix our currency manipulation that we see abroad.

So anyway, take you back to 1988. I vote for Fast Track for NAFTA. Instead of the million new jobs that were promised, by 2010 the United States had lost 700,000 jobs. So instead of standing in a corner figuring out how we’re going to lose more jobs, we ought to do something that works for the Middle Class. Let me tell you what happened with NAFTA. Instead of improved pay for our workers, which was promised, NAFTA pushed down American wages. It empowered employers to say to their workers, either accept lower wages and benefits, or we are moving to Mexico.

Instead of strengthening our economy, it increased our trade deficit to Mexico, which now this year hit $50 billion. Before NAFTA, we had a trade surplus with Mexico. Now we have a trade deficit. So instead of standing in the corner and figuring out how we can have more trade deficits with countries, we ought to do something to help the Middle Class.

I want to talk about something that happened in California in Santa Ana, right after NAFTA. The City had worked hard to keep a Mitsubishi Plant that assembled big screen TVs, securing tax credits to help the plant stay competitive. Even after NAFTA passed, company officials promised they would keep the plant in Santa Ana. But guess what folks? Three years later Mitsubishi closed the plant, company officials said they had to cut costs, especially labor costs, so they were moving their operations to Mexico. We lost 400 good paying, Middle Class jobs, even though everyone promised NAFTA would never do that, this is going to be wonderful. And, I got suckered into voting yes on Fast Track. And I fear we see this pattern again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

So, we have 12.3 million manufacturing jobs in this country. And, we are looking at a Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal, the largest trade deal in history, covering 40% of the world’s economy. Tell me, what chance do our people who work in manufacturing have against countries that pay less than a dollar an hour? In one case I think it’s 56 cents… 57 cents… Say it again. 70 cents an hour, I stand corrected.

Of the 12 countries in the TPP, three have minimum wages that are higher than ours: Australia, New Zealand and Canada. But, most of the countries have far lower wages including Chile with a wage of $2.14, Peru with a minimum wage of $1.38, Vietnam with a minimum wage of 70 CENTS. Brunei and Singapore: They don’t even have a minimum wage. They don’t even have a minimum wage. So, I think I have laid out the argument as to why all these promises about better wages; more jobs falls flat on its face, when you look at that last Free Trade Deal. And this one is with more countries.

And, then there is the Investor State Dispute Settlement or ISDS, which will allow polluters to sue for unlimited money damages. For example, they could use it to try to undo the incredible work in California on climate change by claiming that they were put at a disadvantage by having to live with California’s laws. Polluters could seek to undermine the President’s clean power plant, or the toxic mercury pollution under the mercury and air toxic standard. Or, they could sue because they had to use, spend a little money to make sure that they didn’t dump toxins into our waterways, drinking water.

Now, we’ve seen this happen before. S.B. Meyers did it. They sued. Lone Pine Resources sued. The Renco Group sued. They notified Peru in 2010 and intended to launch an $800 million investor state claim against the government because they said the fair trade agreement was violated, because it said that they didn’t really have to install all these anti-pollution devices. And, yet Peru forced them to do it. And, what happened was “polluter pay” turned into “polluters get paid”.

So, you have a trade agreement that threatens 12 million manufacturing jobs. You have a trade agreement that is pushing off the floor all the things we need to do for our Middle Class. You have a trade agreement that sets up this extra-judicial board that can overcome America’s laws.

As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has warned: The consequences could be disastrous. He calls the TPP a Trojan Horse in a Global Race to the Bottom, giving Big Corporations a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.

So, we should set this aside; not go to this today; work together as Democrats and Republicans for a true Middle Class agenda; for a robust investment in our roads, bridges and highways; to fix our immigration system…

Disclaimer: This is an unofficial transcript based on the original speech at the video above. It is to encourage you to watch-listen to the video. We highly recommend watching the video, so that you can appreciate Senator Boxer’s delivery. And, if you must use this speech for official purposes you must refer to the official video, as this transcript could have an error (we hope not, it was checked, but it could) and is unofficial. The video is a tiny bit longer, too.