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Members of Congress,

We call on you to reject the fast-tracking proposal introduced yesterday and to turn away from the secretive process that has marked the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

This legislation, which has far ranging implications for our global community beyond trade, should not be “fast tracked” through Congress.

Negotiation and consideration of such an agreement requires broad input of the American people. But to date there has been little.

It’s clear: the secretive process that has marked this legislation deprives our citizens of their fundamental right to participate in the creation of law, especially an agreement that so profoundly affects their own livelihoods and those of their families and neighbors.

As we’ve learned time and again in this country, bad processes create bad agreements. And this situation is no different. The TPP—like its older siblings NAFTA and CAFTA—is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

It proponents promise it will create more American jobs, but TPP includes the same terms in earlier pacts that make it easier for large corporations to offshore American jobs. Its proponents promise better wages, but as recent data shows, instead TPP will increase global inequality and structural poverty. Its proponents promise it will be an instrument of the common good, but instead TPP will serve only the interests of the rich and powerful who are now promoting this pact against the objection of a broad base of civil society.

If corporate lobbyists and their allies in business and government were so convinced the TPP is good for the American people, they wouldn’t try to railroad this legislation through Congress without due oversight from the people and their elected officials.

Pope Francis says it so well: “just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.”

As the Holy Father notes, “the world [is instead] becom[ing] an idolater of this god called money.”

Together, with men and women of faith throughout this nation, we call on our elected officials to reject this new idolatry of money and to stop any fast tracking of the proposed TPP. 

Our elected leaders should know that if they are willing to take a step of courage against fast tracking this legislation, they will have a Church that will walk with them the entire way.

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