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Congresswoman Clarke Opposes Trade Agreement That Theatens American Workers and the Environment

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on H.R. 1088, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 2015, which failed to pass in the House of Representatives by a vote of 126 “ayes” and 302 “noes.” Congresswoman Clarke voted “no.”

To enact the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP), the House of Representatives must also pass the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA), because the Senate version of the agreement includes both TPP and TAA.

“I oppose the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act because, if it had passed, the three parts of ‘Fast Track,’ which includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement that would effectively undermine the rights of American workers as well as our intellectual property and environmental protection laws, would have also passed. The agreement would contribute to a ‘race to the bottom,’ in which corporations that pay their workers low wages and fail to provide adequate benefits would have the ability to expand exports in the United States, undermining our workers who earn a living wage with fair benefits. In addition, I am concerned that the agreement could require the United States to impose serious criminal penalties for even minor violations of copyright laws – such as a person sharing songs with his or her friends – that under current laws are penalized only by civil damages. The agreement also threatens the environment, here in the United States and around the world, by allowing corporations to claim damages from the government for any policy that reduces their profits. Both federal and states laws that prohibit oil drilling or strip mining in protected natural areas could conceivably result in a lawsuit. I voted ‘no’ to all three parts that would create ‘Fast Track.’ Without adequate protections for our workers, our environment, and our existing intellectual property laws, I cannot support this agreement.”

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the House of Representatives, a member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, as well as the Committee on Ethics and the Committee of Small Business. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.

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