Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill that would have required public disclosure of the terms concealed within the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) blocked that bill, keeping the TPP’s provisions behind closed doors, reported The Hill.
Hatch blocked the legislation on Thursday after an effort led by Warren and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to make the details of the TPP publicly available. Warren’s bill would have made transparency required before Congressional lawmakers decided to fast track the devastating trade deal.
“The Trade Transparency Act would ensure that the public, experts, and the press can engage in meaningful debate over the terms of trade deals before Congress reduces its ability to shape, amend, or block those deals,” said Warren of the bill.
Was Warren’s attempt to force transparency upon the TPP somewhat disruptive? It absolutely was, which is the point. If Warren’s bill had passed, public knowledge of the pro-corporate, anti-worker trade deal would raise questions and force Congress to negotiate possible amendments to the TPP’s terms.
The impatience of the GOP and the Obama administration has put the TPP on course for fast-track approval which means the trade deal will subjected to a straight, up-or-down vote. This means any proposed amendments are not allowed, causing some uneasiness among progressive Democrats.
Meanwhile, Hatch keeps trying to change the narrative and give the illusion that the trade deal isn’t a “secret.”
“Those who oppose [the] Trade Promotion Authority and trade agreements outright will likely continue to use the supposed lack of transparency as an excuse to oppose the bill,” said Hatch.
There isn’t a “supposed” lack of transparency. There is a total lack of transparency. Some details about the TPP have been made public only because of Wikileaks and politicians like Warren who are calling for transparency. The trade deal’s supporters and Obama have kept silent about the issue.