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Progressives Take Stand as Fast Track Fight Kicks into High Gear on Capitol Hill

'The grassroots movement against Fast Track is nationwide,' says activist

From the Teamsters Twitter feed: "#Teamsters stand strong w/ 1,200 union members now to say #StopFastTrack & #TPP" (Photo: @Teamsters/Twitter)

With legislation to speed up congressional approval of the Trans Pacific Partnership and other corporate-friendly trade deals on the verge of being introduced in Congress, a coalition of elected officials, labor unions, and environmental groups gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to voice their vehement opposition to such a bill.

The Hill reported Tuesday that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was "optimistic" about introducing 'Fast Track' legislation as early as Wednesday—the same day an estimated 1,000 labor and environmental activists converged in Washington, D.C. to spread the message: "Stop Fast Track."

"The voices of workers will be in the halls of Congress and at our rally to declare U.S. trade deals have been nothing more than broken promises of lost jobs and closed factories that are wiping out middle class American families," said United Steelworkers president Leo W. Gerard.

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio); as well as AFL-CIO executive vice president Tefere Gebre and Sierra Club national campaign director Debbie Sease, were among those who rallied against Fast Track and the TPP on Wednesday.

"The grassroots movement against Fast Track is nationwide—and it’s not just labor," Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO's trade policy specialist, told The Hill. "It's folks from the environmental, consumer, faith, farm, business and good governance communities as well. And we're having an impact."

As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, Democratic support for Fast Track is dwindling, with just 15 House Democrats on the record as being in favor of the legislation.

And according to The Nation on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, came out publicly as opposing Fast Track.

The AFL-CIO is also preparing for a national Day of Action to Stop Fast Track, scheduled to take place on Saturday.

Stay informed about Wednesday's actions by following #StopFastTrack on Twitter:

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