December 19, 2013
|Editorial By Wendy McElroy|
"The Obama administration has deemed negotiations to be classified information – banning members of Congress from discussing the American negotiating position with the press or the public. Congressional staffers have been restricted from viewing the documents."
The bill was immediately referred to the committee on finance, where it died.
Continuing pressure from Congress eventually prompted the Obama administration to allow the Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson to read core documents as long as he used no recording device, took no notes and was not accompanied by a staff member. By contrast, corporation representatives can reportedly view the document with a username and password. The tech news business site TechDirt (June 24, 2013) reprinted Grayson's public statement in the wake of his perusal of documents. He stated:
"1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.
2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
3) What they can't afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified]....
I will be fighting this agreement with everything I've got."
Meanwhile, pushback by the other nations negotiating the TPP continues. A point of particular controversy is the American proposal to restrict them from pressing for lower prices on domestic drugs. For example, both New Zealand and Australia have mechanisms by which their public health care systems can either prefer lower-priced generics or negotiate a cut rate from drug companies. The USTR wants to stop this practice; U.S. drug companies are on board... Finish reading@ thedailybell