Fast Track Is Dead — Let’s Keep It That Way!

Fast Track expired at midnight on June 30, 2007, and can only be renewed with Congressional approval.

Fast Track is a Nixon-era trade agreement negotiating and approval process that hands much of Congress’ constitutional authority and real-world leverage to influence the terms of trade agreements over to the executive branch.

Elements of that authority that Fast Track delegates to the executive branch include:

  • the power to select trading partners
  • the power to set the terms of trade agreements and to sign them before Congress votes on them
  • the power to write implementing legislation that changes wide swathes of existing U.S. law, and then circumvent ordinary committee review and submit the legislation directly for a mandatory, expedited vote
  • the power to override Congressional leaders’ control of House and Senate floor schedules
  • the power to override normal voting procedures, including a ban on all amendments and limits on debate time

Fast Track has survived having expired for periods up to seven years, only to be renewed again when deemed politically feasible.

Fast Track trade promotion authority is the trade negotiating mechanism that rushed NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO through Congress. These extremely harmful trade policies have led to:

  • The export of millions of high-paying U.S. jobs
  • Declining living standards for the U.S. middle class
  • Increased poverty in developing nations
  • The weakening of key environmental and food safety laws

Fast Track exempts trade deals from ordinary Congressional scrutiny by eliminating normal committee review, amendment and debate procedures. At the same time, Fast Track grants corporate lobbyists special access to White House trade negotiators.

Additional info on Fast Track:
Introduction to Fast Track (Powerpoint, English)
Introduccion al “Fast Track” (Powerpoint, Spanish)
Fast Track, Time to Go (10-min video)
States’ Rights and International Trade
Hermiston City Council Resolution
Malheur County Commissioners Letter
Writing a Letter to the Editor Opposing Fast Track