[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 139 (Wednesday, September 14, 2016)]
[House]
[Pages H5491-H5495]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                        PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: TPP

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 6, 2015, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Pocan) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. POCAN. Madam Speaker, I am here on behalf of the Progressive 
Caucus, which is in charge of this hour. We are here today to talk 
about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade.
  The people in the Progressive Caucus have been some of the leaders in 
the movement to make sure that we have trade deals that protect 
American jobs and lift our wages here in the United States.
  We want to make sure that there are environmental protections across 
the globe. We want to make sure our food is safe and our prescription 
drugs are affordable. We want to make sure there are human rights in 
countries that do trade with the United States. And we want to make 
sure we are addressing issues like currency manipulation. All of those 
issues are important when you want to advance trade.
  No one in this room is against trade. We are all for increasing our 
ability to have more exports and to have imports into this country, but 
you have to have trade deals that work on behalf of the American 
worker. And all too often, past trade deals have cost us jobs here in 
the United States. They have made our wages continue to be depressed.
  That is not a good trade deal, in the minds of the members of the 
Progressive Caucus. That is why we are here at this hour to talk 
specifically about what is good trade, why we are skeptical of the 
Trans-Pacific Partnership, and why we especially don't want to see a 
vote during the lameduck session after the election in November. With 
people who are no longer going to be serving in Congress, taking that 
vote at that time would be an especially bad idea.
  Today is a national call-in day of action on the Trans-Pacific 
Partnership. There are over 90 public interest groups that have been 
calling our offices. I heard my staff picking up the phone over and 
over again, responding to people who want to make sure that we have 
trade deals that take care of all those things that we talked about, 
all the things that members of the Progressive Caucus have been leaders 
in this Congress and trying to advocate for.
  In conjunction with the tens of thousands of people who have called 
Congress today to urge their Members not only to not support the Trans-
Pacific Partnership, because it is really not a trade deal, there are 
parts about a trade--this is a rewriting of corporate rules that could 
have huge ramifications.
  Forty percent of the world's gross domestic product is involved in 
this one large deal. We want to make sure we get it right, not just 
fast. That is why we are joining with these groups today to make sure 
that people know what is in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and why it is 
vitally important that we don't take this up during a lameduck session.
  As I said, not only do we have Members who will no longer be serving 
here who might even be looking for jobs with some of the very 
industries advocating for the Trans-Pacific Partnership because it will 
benefit their bottom line, but also we have two Presidential candidates 
in the main two parties who both oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  This should be something that, with as much enormous respect I have 
for President Obama, we should allow the next President to be able to 
address trade, especially when a deal like this has so much controversy 
and so many questions about it.
  So we are here. During the next hour we are going to hear from 
various members of the Progressive Caucus. It is my honor to yield to 
one of my colleagues from the great State of California. The 17th 
District of California is very lucky to have a representative who has 
been such an outspoken advocate for middle-class families not just in 
California, but across the country.
  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. Honda), 
my colleague from the 17th District of California.
  Mr. HONDA. Madam Speaker, I rise today to voice my opposition to TPP, 
an unfair trade deal that will hurt our Nation's workers, our 
environment, and give corporations dangerous new rights.
  Through an alarming expansion of the Investor-State Dispute 
Settlement process, the ISDS, TPP will give corporations a legal weapon 
to enforce their agendas on sovereign nations. Corporations have 
already used ISDS to bring over 700 lawsuits against more than 100 
governments around the world.

[[Page H5492]]

  When my home State of California banned the use of MTBE as an 
additive in gasoline because it was polluting the ground water, the 
Canadian company sued, costing the State and Federal Government 
millions of dollars to defend the case. TPP would extend these rights 
to 1,000 additional corporations owning more than 9,200 subsidiaries.

  We need to stop foreign corporations from suing the U.S. Government 
before unaccountable panels of corporate lawyers. And while giving 
these rights to corporations, TPP will provide little benefit to the 
American economy.
  The widely cited estimate of 0.13 percent growth in U.S. GDP under 
TPP is over 10 years. It is not an annual gain. A gain that benefits 
only a few is undone by the negative impact TPP will have on workers at 
home and abroad.
  Under NAFTA, 700,000 American jobs moved to Mexico to take advantage 
of Mexican workers making 30 percent less than American workers, even 
after adjusting for differences in living costs.
  While TPP requires nations to implement minimum wage laws, nothing in 
the language of the deal prevents them from setting the wage as low as 
5 cents an hour. TPP is a small win for high-income earners at the huge 
expense of low-income workers.
  TPP also lacks strong provisions to deal with countries with 
repulsive human rights abuses, including human trafficking and 
intolerance of the LGBTQ communities.
  Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei criminalize consensual same-sex 
sexual relations. Rewarding them with a trade agreement is really very 
unacceptable.
  Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have evaluated each trade 
agreement based on whether it ensures strong, clear, and enforceable 
labor, environmental, and human rights standards. I do not believe that 
the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that was sent to 
Congress meets my standards. It does not deserve to be considered 
during a lameduck session.
  As it is currently written, TPP should not be brought to a vote. It 
should not be brought to a vote, period.
  Mr. POCAN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from the 17th 
District of California for his words. As he mentioned, there are a 
number of provisions that you can start to drill down to. In the giant 
volumes that make up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, there are 
provisions that I think the American people have no idea about. In 
fact, I would argue there are some people in Congress who have no idea 
what is in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

                              {time}  1915

  Just one of those provisions that Representative Honda mentioned is 
the investor-State dispute settlement process, the ISDS provisions, 
where you have a three-person tribunal of unelected, unaccountable 
people, people who are corporate lawyers one day and then fair 
arbitrators of the law another day, that set up this separate legal 
process from the American judicial system that international companies, 
multinational companies, can access if they want to sue a local 
government for a law that they have passed that they think affects 
their future profits.
  Think about it. Everyone else in the country has to follow the court 
system we have in the United States, but if a multinational company, 
because of the provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, decides 
that they want to go around that system and go to three corporate 
lawyers who form a tribunal under this ISDS provision and they want to 
challenge that law, they can sue for monetary damages. Think about it.
  For example, if the State of Wisconsin, where I come from, were to 
pass a higher minimum wage than the Federal minimum wage and it would 
be challenged, potentially, by a multinational corporation saying that 
is going to affect their future profits, they could sue the taxpayers 
of Wisconsin over that law.
  This isn't just something that we are dreaming up. Over and over 
again, we have seen countries in trade deals be sued by multinational 
corporations because of environmental law and other laws that they have 
passed that they have said affect their future profits, and it doesn't 
happen in the American legal system.
  Now, as bad as this sounds, to skirt the American legal system, a 
special system for multinational corporations, let me tell you what is 
even worse about that provision. It is only a tribunal for those 
corporations. But the parts of the trade agreement that affect labor 
law or environmental law don't have access to the same provisions. They 
have to go through the normal legal court system.
  Recently, there was a labor dispute with the country of Honduras with 
a company, and it took us 6 years to get that resolved. So for 
environmental law, for labor law, for things that are going to affect 
most people, we still have to follow the court system, which is the way 
it should be. But for multinational corporations, they have a special, 
streamlined process with, basically, their own arbitrators making the 
decisions, allowing you to sue taxpayers within a local government or a 
State government that may pass a law. Clearly, that doesn't make any 
sense whatsoever. That is just one of those provisions that is a real 
problem.
  Another thing that Mike Honda from the great State of California 
said, he talked about some of the human rights violations. There are 
explicit human rights violations with some of the countries that don't 
respect things like single mothers, who don't respect the LGBT 
community, and those are things that we absolutely can't allow.
  Our country has done so much to work with other countries to raise 
human rights standards, and yet, in this bill, this trade agreement, 
the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it does not have those things in place 
to make sure that we have got those protections for so many different 
people and so many different provisions. So what he mentioned are just 
a couple of the provisions.
  Let me mention something I think that people don't know about. As I 
mentioned at the very beginning, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is made 
up of countries that are going to make up for 40 percent of the world's 
gross domestic product.
  Now, it is one thing to have a trade agreement with a country that is 
very similar, like Canada, or a country like Japan that also has a lot 
of similar goods that they are producing; but we also have countries in 
here like Vietnam, where they don't allow trade unions, where people 
make, on average, 65 cents an hour.
  As you can tell, there is going to be a huge difference in a trade 
agreement that you have with a country like Canada and a country like 
Vietnam. But in this trade agreement everyone is lumped together, and 
there is a long lead time that Vietnam would have to try to get their 
act together, especially just around issues like having a trade union, 
much less around those wage issues.
  But you can just imagine that if you open that door to have trade 
preferences for a country like Vietnam, at 65 cents an hour, yes, I 
will contend that we will lift their wages ever so slightly; but I will 
also tell you, based on evidence we have seen from past trade deals, 
that you will further depress our wages here. You will keep the wages 
flat because that is what happens with these trade agreements, and more 
jobs that are done here in the U.S. will go overseas.
  I say this from someone who grew up in a very industrial town. I grew 
up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We made autos for the entire time I grew up 
in that town. When I was growing up, it was American Motors Company. We 
made Pacers and Gremlins and some cars that people actually bought. But 
thousands of thousands of people worked at those auto plants and 
supported their families with good family-supporting, middle class 
wages. That is the type of jobs that we need here in this country, but 
those jobs aren't going to happen under these trade agreements.
  I have watched in my hometown of Kenosha after American Motors sold 
to Renault, and then Renault sold to Chrysler. Chrysler made engines 
for Jeeps. At some point, finally, they went away, and we lost what was 
over 5,000 jobs at one time in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the 
ripple effects of the industries that fed into that company because, 
all too often, we watched those jobs go to Mexico, to Canada, to other 
countries because of wages.
  Another thing, for almost three decades of my life, I have had a 
specialty

[[Page H5493]]

printing business. One of the things that we do is screen print T-
shirts. So I have been buying T-shirts and goods like that for nearly 
30 years. Over the years, I have watched the U.S. mills go away, and 
more and more of those jobs have gone to countries, literally, that are 
paying wages that are subpoverty.

  I have gone to El Salvador and met with people who work in the 
sweatshops where people make $3 a day; and because that sweatshop area 
is in a special free trade zone that is not near where people live, 
they spend a dollar of that to get there. Now, this is, granted, a 
couple of decades ago, but the wages are still severely depressed.
  Those jobs that were in America now are going to countries--in fact, 
one of the things we are hearing out of this trade agreement is Central 
American countries are afraid they are now going to lose jobs to places 
like Vietnam because they can have even lower wages. None of those 
things are going to help the American worker.
  So there is a reason why this fall, when you talk and hear from 
candidates who are running for office--we have two Presidential 
candidates in the major parties both opposing the Trans-Pacific 
Partnership as it is currently written.
  We have candidates across the country, for Congress and the Senate, 
running ads talking about a better vision for what trade should be. 
With all of that going on, it makes no sense whatsoever that we would 
take this up after the November elections, between that little period 
of time between November 8 and the end of the year, when we are going 
to have a new Congress sworn in in January. To take that up with a 
Congress of people that may not be serving here and may be looking for 
jobs from the very companies that advocate for these sweetheart 
multinational deals is a huge, huge mistake.
  So that is why the 90 organizations today are having a day of action; 
tens of thousands of calls coming into Washington, D.C., to try to make 
sure that Congress does the right thing around trade. That means making 
sure that we have trade deals that protect American jobs and, 
hopefully, grow American jobs; ones that protect our wages and 
hopefully grow our wages; ones that protect us when it comes to things 
like food safety; ones that protect us on things like pharmaceutical 
prices.
  We want trade agreements that make sure that you don't have a 
country--you can have the best language in a trade deal, but if you 
still allow currency manipulation, you can make that language virtually 
meaningless. And there is nothing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership 
Agreement that addresses currency manipulation, which is a huge, huge 
problem.
  So those are some of the things that we are trying to get done, much 
less international human rights provisions that should be in any 
meaningful trade agreement. So many of us are going to be talking about 
this over the next few months.
  But tonight I would like to yield to another one of my colleagues who 
has been one of the leaders in Congress on this issue. He represents 
New York State's 20th District. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Tonko).
  Mr. TONKO. I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin for yielding. I thank 
Representative Pocan for leading us in what I think is a very 
meaningful discussion this evening in this Special Order.
  Mr. Speaker, trade, absolutely critical to our economy, but fair 
trade, not free trade, a fair trade situation where our manufacturers, 
our businesses, are operating on a level playing field where they have 
an equal shot at being able to go forward and be productive and provide 
for jobs, the dignity of work for Americans from coast to coast.
  Recently, I talked to an individual, Representative Pocan, in my 
district, who had to close his doors. And it was years of assistance 
that we provided when I was yet in the State assembly, and then after, 
in the U.S. Congress, to assist them so that they could be competitive. 
Their major competitors were in China.
  If we try to talk about public-private partnerships as being 
something that don't exist out there, on this House floor, then we are 
not getting it. It was the public-private coziness of China that really 
destroyed the competitive edge of a business in my community, one that 
had spun fibers for many defense contracts.
  They alluded to the fact that, in some cases, the government, China, 
will own the building. The government, China, will pay the utility 
bill. They will offer subsidies to the industry, and then, as was just 
mentioned by my colleague from Wisconsin, they will manipulate the 
currency.
  All four of those items drag down the opportunity for American 
workers. It dulls the competitive edge that we should be able to enjoy 
in the marketplace. We build smarter, and it doesn't have to be 
cheaper. But when these sorts of dynamics are working against us, we 
are really swimming upstream with very difficult challenges facing us.
  Now, this factory owner had told me, if you take away one or two of 
the items that I just mentioned, we win easily. If you take three of 
the four away, we are a strong winner, and if you take all four away, 
winners hands down.
  So it is about fairness. It is about having an equal shot at the 
opportunity to function in the international marketplace and be able to 
be creative and innovative with all sorts of intellectual capacity that 
comes, oftentimes, with research that should be another counterpart to 
this equation. When we do that, we are the strength beyond belief, and 
so our efforts here in the House, Representative Pocan, Representative 
Slaughter from upstate New York, Representative DeLauro from 
Connecticut, a great number of us who have been working together, 
Representative Doggett from Texas, a great number of us working to make 
certain that our colleagues know about the damage inflicted if we go 
forward with the current format of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific 
Partnership.
  It is important for us to be pro-worker, pro-business, pro-trade in a 
free or, rather, a fair capacity, not a free and open-ended concept 
that has been part and parcel to negotiated deals before this.
  Now, what I hear oftentimes is that the biggest problem that had 
come, when talking to manufacturers in northeast U.S., is that many of 
the arrangements in these contracts were never implemented. So the 
contracts might have been a little weak or unfair to begin with, but 
when you add to that the lack of genuine implementation, then you 
really have compounded the damage. The pain is real, and it is the 
exodus of many, many jobs in upstate New York. That is the territory of 
the 20th Congressional District.

  Now, Mr. Pocan, I have to tell you, I am the host community, my 20th 
Congressional seat in New York, the eastern end to the Erie Canal 
corridor. Now, that gave birth to a number of mill towns. They took a 
little town called New York and said they were going to make it a port, 
and then, by building the canal, we developed a necklace of communities 
dubbed mill towns that became epicenters of invention and innovation, 
and we sparked the westward movement. We inspired an industrial 
revolution. Because of that, there was a great bit of manufacturing 
going on.
  I know that we need to upgrade and retrofit and continually grow the 
economy by transforming some of the workforce skill sets. I know that. 
We invest in that. But to put us at a competitive disadvantage by 
having these situations where we don't require climate change response 
in the contract, so we are allowing people to live in fifties and 
sixties standards with the environment--and we are doing our best to 
respond to climate change. We see the damage that has been ravaging 
many of our communities, either through extreme dry situations, drought 
in the Southwest, or flooding in the Southeast and in the Northeast, 
these are issues that need to be addressed, and we are doing the right 
thing. But when the left hand is not responding to what the right hand 
is doing and we are giving people a different level of standards, 
workforce conditions, workforce protection, these are things that need 
to be standard across the board and not sinking down to a lowest common 
denominator, but rising to the highest level amongst us.

                              {time}  1930

  I think of the fact that we could end up with situations, having had 
favored

[[Page H5494]]

a labor scale, a payment mechanism, such as 65 cents per hour for 
Vietnamese workers as being that standard out there across the world. 
Nothing could be more harmful. That is undignified when it is seen 
through the lens of the worker.
  So there is a lot of work to be done here. There is a lot of 
improvement that needs to be had.
  We have opposed the TPP in its current form. Certainly we are for 
trade. It is important for us to have that marketplace. We are 4.7 
percent of the world's population. Of course we want to advance trade. 
It needs to be fair trade, and that is what we are asking here. This is 
the message that we have been resonating so as to make certain that 
there is progress made here for our communities, our neighborhoods, our 
workers, and our businesses. We won't stop until we are successful with 
that. I believe the message is probably not even dealing with this 
during a lameduck session of Congress.
  So I appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts and stay with 
you in this Special Order for a while, Representative Pocan, because 
this is a very important topic to workers from coast to coast.
  Again, it is the fairness that we want to bring not only to the 
workforce but to the business communities that invest in jobs in our 
neighborhood.
  Mr. POCAN. This is my second term in Congress. You have been here a 
little longer. One of the questions I have is when I was elected 4 
years ago I remember New Year's Eve when you were all voting during a 
lameduck session on things. Tell me more about this lameduck session 
portion. I think that is the real question. Some people might be 
amenable to what is in the TPP which we still have arguments about, but 
to do that in a lameduck session certainly sets up problems.
  Could you explain a little more about why that is a problem? I yield 
to the gentleman.
  Mr. TONKO. I think there needs to be strong dialogue here. With the 
elections being early in November and probably some time to pass before 
we really gather again and reconvene as a base, as a body, as a House, 
and then with holidays consuming some of the time during December, it 
gives you precious little time to really have that dialogue--that 
conversation--that is so essential. Great things happen when we 
communicate, when we talk to each other and suggest these are concerns, 
and let's raise the given solutions that are, indeed, required to make 
it acceptable. That takes time.
  Quite literally, there has been no work on this. People have been 
advancing the TPP in its original--in its now-given format, and many 
people see weaknesses, loopholes, and concern for workers. There are 
situations where labor is not protected by union forces because the 
governments run the unions. And if you are a dissident to the cause 
then there are just extreme outcomes for individuals if you become that 
whistleblower or that critic, that dissident, you are then maybe 
finding yourself incarcerated.
  So it is important for us to clear up a lot of the issues, to correct 
them, and fine-tune them, everything from environmental standards, to 
worker protection, to the cost of pharmaceuticals, which has been 
raised many times over, and what it might do to the average pricetag 
out there. So there is not enough time. To rush and get that done, to 
beat the clock, so to speak, I think is a faulty bit of a scenario. It 
is not the way to do something as so critically important as this is.
  Mr. POCAN. You mentioned there are a lot of areas that we clearly 
need to make changes on. There are areas of concern around labor 
rights, environmental rights, consumer protections, the ISDS 
provisions, and other things. Why not simply amend the trade agreement 
to fix those things? I yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. TONKO. Congress has very little opportunity to adjust. It is 
basically a thumbs up, thumbs down. We can recommend. It is not like we 
can make major adjustments.
  The administrator overseeing the document will have to take that back 
and make recommended changes. You have to bring other nations together 
to get agreement because it is 40 percent of the world's GDP that is 
the audience for this given negotiated settlement. This TPP covers a 
huge portion of the world's GDP. So there are a lot of partners that 
would have a say in the process. We can recommend, and then the changes 
that we can inspire are quite mild compared to what needs to be done by 
the framers of the settlement.
  Mr. POCAN. Again, I thank you so much for all your work on this.
  Mr. TONKO. My pleasure. Back at you because it has taken a lot of 
time for all of us who have been whipping in the House. I think, to the 
credit of our group, we have sacrificed a lot of time, but we have been 
working in a steadfast way that has allowed people to really question 
how this fits into their given district. When this is done, it has got 
to be done correctly because it is there. It is a long-term project.
  People have seen what faulty agreements can mean in their districts. 
While we lost many manufacturing jobs, luckily this administration has 
helped to hold on to several manufacturing jobs and stop the bleeding. 
But now let's grow this, and let's invest in the intellect for 
manufacturing. Let's make it smarter, and let's also retrofit our 
systems so that we do have a heavy hand from a competitive edge. At the 
same time, let's get the negotiated agreement that is most favorable to 
a level playing field.
  Mr. POCAN. Again, I thank the gentleman so much. I appreciate it.
  Mr. TONKO. My pleasure.
  Mr. POCAN. I think the point that the gentleman brought up, 
especially around why we can't amend it, is a real significant one. 
Congress gave up its ability when it passed trade promotion authority 
to allow the President to do the final negotiations. We gave up our 
ability to have any amendments, and we have limited debate. So when 
there are so many concerns with this trade agreement, unfortunately, 
there is very little other than an up-or-down vote that we can do. This 
is exactly why when you have two major party Presidential candidates 
and scores of candidates for Federal office across the country in both 
parties opposing this agreement to allow people who could be kicked out 
of office, essentially by the voters, to make that decision in a 
lameduck is certainly undemocratic, with a small D. That is one of the 
real problems we are facing on this.

  The other issue you brought up, gentleman, and I want to talk about 
too is the accompanying job loss. Other trade agreements we have had in 
the past, we have seen that we have had a net job loss both, I believe, 
from the Korea Free Trade Agreement where we were made one promise and 
a different result happened from NAFTA.
  I just last year had a company leave Lafayette County, Wisconsin. 
Lafayette County is one of the most rural counties in the State of 
Wisconsin. The largest city is 2,400 people, Darlington. It is one of 
two counties in the State of Wisconsin that doesn't have a stop-and-go 
light. This is a rural, rural area.
  A company just last year, with about 32 jobs that did auto parts, 
left to go to Mexico. Now, there is some trade adjustment assistance 
that can help in the short term to help the workers. But think about 
it: 32 jobs in a community of 2,400.
  I also have Madison, Wisconsin, in my district, with about 240,000 
people. That would be like losing 3,000-plus jobs in the city of 
Madison, Wisconsin. That is the effect that happened to that city, 
Darlington, because of previous past trade deals. That is why it is so 
important we get it right and we get it right the first time. In this 
case, I think there are many people in both parties who don't think we 
have it quite right, and that is why we need to address it.
  Another thing I want to raise that we talked about, and I think it is 
so important because this is new news from this week, is the provisions 
around the investor-state dispute settlement, the provisions that 
allow, essentially, the multinational corporations to sue government if 
they think something affects their future profits.
  Just this week there was a group of academics who have traditionally 
embraced free trade but are alarmed by the inclusion of the ISDS 
provisions in the deal who just sent a letter to Congress warning of 
this system. It is 223-strong, led by Harvard law professor, Laurence 
Tribe. He warned that the U.S. will be subject to a flurry of suits by 
profit-seeking actors with no interest in working through a democratic 
or constitutional process.

[[Page H5495]]

  Let me read the quote in the letter: ``Unfortunately the final TPP 
text simply replicates nearly word for word many of the problematic 
provisions from past agreements, and indeed would vastly expand the 
U.S. government's potential liability under the ISDS system.''
  This is about our sovereignty.
  I yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. TONKO. Doesn't this give corporations an opportunity to undo 
regulations that are established by our country or laws that are 
established?
  Mr. POCAN. The net effect by suing for financial gain will do exactly 
that if someone is going to have to pay damages.
  There is an ISDS provision that happened in Peru over an 
environmental law change by a company that had toxic contamination. 
That company is now, because of that change to environmental law in 
Peru, demanding $800 million from the country--$800 million because 
they are saying that that is somehow going to affect their future 
profits and because of a violation of a trade agreement.
  These are real. This is just one of many, many examples. Canada and 
other countries have been sued through these provisions. But now we 
have the experts in the United States telling us not to do that.
  So this is something that clearly is one of the biggest problems that 
is in there. As we said, you can't amend it out. We are not allowed. As 
Congress, we gave up our ability to amend that section out.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. TONKO. I think what you are pointing to here is a very important 
component of the agreement. We do lose the control, the direct 
authority, required of us by the constituency that places its trust in 
each and every Representative that is elected to come to Congress. They 
believe rightfully that we are going to have their best interests.
  We vote in accordance with what we hear from them about standards 
that should be maintained, established, and implemented; and to have 
that passed on to a court of whatever, of a format that is far removed 
from a given situation and may be looking at just greed as a factor, an 
unwillingness to pay abundantly well for what our standards should be 
maintained for just reasons, moves the process away from us with any 
control that we might have had taken away. I think that anonymity is a 
dangerous outcome as a result of this sort of agreement.
  So I think that, again, there is a lot of fine print in the agreement 
that has to be really examined and thoroughly reviewed so that we are 
not putting our situations at risk and our communities at risk.
  All in all, it is wanting to maintain standards that will respond to 
the needs of the environment. We know how critical that is. We know how 
much improvement is required and that we make great gains. But for 
those who signed into the process--some were actually directly 
communicating to the executive branch saying: let's get this fast track 
going.
  Why would you circumvent your role? Why would you, as a Member of the 
House, want to remove yourself from the process when we should be here 
reviewing, examining, recommending, and at least having some sort of 
input that won't pass it over and absolve ourselves of given 
responsibilities?
  So I appreciate, again, your yielding, Representative Pocan.
  Mr. POCAN. I thank the gentleman.
  As much as this is the Progressive Caucus Special Order hour, and 
many of us are working against this, I see Republicans in the room. I 
know Republicans are just as concerned about the sovereignty of this 
country. When you have the ISDS provisions that you have, you take away 
that sovereignty. So I don't care if you are a Democrat, a Republican, 
or an Independent, you want to make sure that if we have a legal system 
here it is a legal system for everyone and there is not a special 
system set up for a few multinational corporations that no one else can 
access with their own players arbitrating these decisions. That is the 
real problem.

  Mr. Speaker, I will close our hour just by repeating a few of the 
things that I think are really important for our people who are 
watching to understand. This is a day of action, and 90 organizations 
have had calls coming into Congress throughout the day. Tens of 
thousands of calls have come into Washington, D.C., to ask people not 
to support TPP, but especially not to support a vote on the Trans-
Pacific Partnership in a lameduck Congress.
  Don't let people who have just been rejected by the voters make a 
decision that could impact this country for decades in the future. 
Don't allow a vote that is going to take away more American jobs and 
further depress our wages here. That is what people have been calling 
us all day about.
  I think that an important question for anyone who wants to serve in 
this body is: are we going to give up those sorts of sovereignty 
issues? Are we going to give up the very concerns we have around things 
like food safety and prescription drug prices; around labor standards 
and environmental standards?

                              {time}  1945

  Are we going to give all of that up through one giant trade deal that 
has 40 percent of the world's gross domestic product wrapped into it 
and think that any agreement we have with Canada and Vietnam are 
identical?
  I don't think anyone really believes that is in the best interest of 
America. That is why we had this Special Order tonight. That is why so 
many people called in today. We thank those people for watching, and we 
hope that they will get active on this issue as well. It is important 
that we have trade, but we need fair trade, not just free trade.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                          ____________________