Montana Senate Passes Good Jobs & Democracy Act Sending Signal to Congress to Reverse Course on Trade
February 26, 2007
New York, NY ”“ The Montana State Senate fired a shot across the bow of current U.S. trade policy today, overwhelmingly passing (45 to 5) a resolution calling on Congress not renew the President’s “Fast Track”? trade promotion authority that has been used to negotiate bad trade deals that limit opportunity for workers and state legislatures’ ability to govern.
Fast Track authority, which is set to expire June 30 of this year, delegates to the president Congress’ trade policymaking authority. Fast Track has enabled passage of controversial trade deals including NAFTA, CAFTA and the World Trade Organization, which have all accelerated a trade and jobs crisis, marked by a near $800 billion trade deficit and stagnated wages.
Under these Fast Track-enabled trade policies, Montana’s ability to create and enact its own laws is in jeopardy due to overreaching trade agreements that incorporate rules that have little to do with trade. Many of these trade pact rules contradict Montana laws that were already democratically enacted by state government.
U.S. Senator Max Baucus is a key figure in the Fast Track debate. His chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy, is critical in deciding the future of Fast Track and related policies. In the past he has been instrumental in the passage of Fast Track, a tenuous position in a state as economically populist as Montana.
“Montanans are fortunate to have its senior senator play a key role in the debate over Fast Track and how to address failed trade deals like NAFTA. While it may sound like an inside the Beltway policy tool, Fast Track is an extraordinary device that strips Congress of any meaningful role and has delivered bad trade deals. We’re hopeful Sen. Baucus will listen to the legislature and reevaluate his position to restore Congress’ authority,”? said Joel Barkin, Executive Director of the Progressive States Network.