The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has never been on a shakier footing, given widespread (and well justified) public mistrust of the process and the outcome, opposition from all of the Presidential candidates, and to top it all off a decidedly lackluster forecast even from the administration's own International Trade Commission. Is it too much to hope that the TPP is on its last legs?
Perhaps, yes. It would be a critical error to underestimate the political power of the industry sectors that have been pushing the TPP negotiations through this decade. And those powerful forces may have one final trick up their sleeve. According to our sources on Capitol Hill, TPP proponents are planning to schedule a vote immediately after the election, during the "lame duck" session of Congress, in the short window when the old Congress continues to sit before the new one takes office. Members of the lame duck Congress may have already retired or been voted out of office, yet they still have the authority to make law. Due to their minimal accountability to their constituents during this period, it is inappropriate that a vote on TPP should come before the lame duck session.
Amongst Democrats, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have come out against a vote on TPP during the lame duck period. But Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi has yet to take a firm stand. Critics of the TPP are now banding together to ask her to do this, and we would like to be able to add the voices of EFF members to this call. A petition to Leader Pelosi hosted by Daily Kos has already drawn about 7,500 signatures, and other groups are collecting signatures to the same petition text in solidarity. EFF is doing so through our Action Center, which you can visit here:
Now is not the time for complacency. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would set the strictest and most unbalanced elements of U.S. intellectual property law in concrete, and export them across the Pacific rim. It would also give new rights to corporations to sue governments for protecting the interests of users and consumers. It fails to meaningfully protect the values and principles that users and innovative business depend upon, such as fair use and network neutrality. And if it passes, it will send a message that secretive, lobbyist-dominated backroom deals are an effective way to make rules for the Internet. We can't let that happen—and Leader Pelosi could be the one to stop it.