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Protesters Interrupt U.S. Trade Rep at TPP Hearing

HeadlineJan 28, 2015

The top U.S. trade official has told lawmakers the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal could be wrapped up within months and urged Congress to give the White House fast-track authority to approve the deal. Protesters with the group Flush the Trans-Pacific Partnership repeatedly interrupted U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman’s testimony before Congress. The protesters — Dr. Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese and retired steelworker Richard Ochs — were all arrested after being removed from the hearing.

Michael Froman: “At USTR, we’re advancing those goals by knocking down barriers to U.S. exports and leveling the playing field for American workers and businesses of all sizes. As we work to open markets around the world, we’re”—

Dr. Margaret Flowers: “Mr. Froman, you are not telling the American people the truth. We know that the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated in secret for five years, when you’re trying to rush it through Congress with fast track because it’s secret and you know that things in there are going to hurt the American people. They’re going to offshore our jobs and lower our wages, in fact. Our job is to protect our communities.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch: “Let’s have order. All right, remove this person from the room, and if anybody else—if anybody else does this, we’re going to be—you’re going to be removed.”

Dr. Margaret Flowers: “They’re not going to allow us to protect our communities from corporations that want to poison us. They’re not going to allow us to protect our workers from poor working conditions. You are not going to get fast track. The American people are against it. They’re against the TPP. No secret trade deal!”

Kevin Zeese: “We’re saying stop fast track, today.”

Richard Ochs: “No TPP! No”—

Kevin Zeese: “We don’t want supersized NAFTA. We don’t want—we don’t want [inaudible].”

Sen. Orrin Hatch: “Remove these people.”

Kevin Zeese: “We don’t want to undermine [inaudible]. We believe in democracy, not secrecy. We want transparency!”

Richard Ochs: “No TPP! No TPP! No TPP!”

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