Yesterday, legislation was introduced in the US Senate that would enable Congress to fast-track approval of secret trade agreements by Republican Orrin Hatch and Democrat Ron Wyden. The timing is important because the President is currently pushing for the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement negotiated in secret meetings with international lawmakers that has serious ramifications for a host of important issues, Internet privacy and intellectual property among them.
We are worried that Congress’ and the public’s ability to review, discuss, and debate proposed agreements would be significantly limited by this bill. It would also force Congress to have a strict yes/no vote on the presented agreement, with no ability to make amendments beforehand.
The impacts of these agreements and the international rules that they impose upon citizens and Internet users across the globe are too sweeping to be coordinated behind closed doors and then presented in a short window for a straight up and down vote.
There is still time for concerned individuals and organizations to resist this push, as we did with SOPA, PIPA, and the threat to net neutrality.