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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
3:43pm
Wed Aug 24, 2016

Bernie’s ‘Our Revolution’ Campaign To Launch Wednesday In Chicago, Nationwide (VIDEO)

Despite having lost the Democratic presidential nomination, “the Bernie revolution” will continue with the “next phase” launching nationwide Wednesday night.

Some 2,600 watch parties and meetings are set to take place across the country tonight as former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) addresses thousands of his supporters to “lay out some of the next steps we can take as a movement to empower a wave of progressive candidates this November and win the major upcoming fights for the values we share,” according to Our Revolution President Jeff Weaver, who also served as Sanders’ presidential campaign manager.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:33pm
Tue Jul 19, 2016

Chicago Aldermen Call On Illinois Congressional Delegation To Oppose TPP

Chicago aldermen who oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will introduce a resolution at Wednesday’s city council meeting urging the Illinois Congressional Delegation to reject the 12-nation trade agreement.

Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), David Moore (17th), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) joined labor allies at City Hall Tuesday afternoon to announce the resolution, which is being proposed ahead of next week’s Democratic National Convention.

“We’re calling on the delegates at the Democratic National Convention to take this off part of their platform agenda so that they can look out for the working class, for the people that they are supposed to represent,” Sadlowski Garza stressed.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:18pm
Tue Apr 19, 2016

Pending U.S. Trade Deals Could Gut Environmental Policies, Report Argues

A leading environmental group is sounding the alarm over climate threats posed by pending trade agreements, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP is a free trade agreement among the United States and 11 other countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement was signed in February and still needs ratification from the U.S. Congress.

In a recent report, the Sierra Club says the TPP and another proposed trade agreement under negotiation between the United States and the European Union, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), “threaten efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

“Like NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement], the TPP and TTIP would give foreign corporations broad rights, including the right to challenge new fossil fuel restrictions that thwart their ‘expectations’ for a stable business environment,” the report explains. “The trade deals would empower the corporations to bypass U.S. courts and take such challenges to tribunals of three private lawyers, unaccountable to any domestic legal system, under a process known as ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ (ISDS).”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:19pm
Fri Jul 17, 2015

Schakowsky: TPP Could Harm Access To Affordable Medicine

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) is sounding the alarm over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) potential impacts on affordable prescription drug access.

Schakowsky joined U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT,3) as well as health and consumer advocates on a Friday conference call to highlight leaked intellectual property provisions in the proposed trade deal that could curb access to generic medicines.

One item contained in the TPP’s leaked intellectual property chapter would expand the use of “evergreening,” a process by which patents are granted for new uses or changes to existing medicines.

Essentially, “evergreening” lets patent holders like pharmaceutical companies “obtain longer periods of exclusivity for just slight changes in existing medications, even if there is no therapeutic benefit,” Schakowsky explained, adding that this process “allows monopoly pricing and keeps out competition from generic companies, and drives up prices.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:50pm
Mon Jun 8, 2015

Schakowsky, Senior Advocates Speak Out Against Medicare Cuts In Trade Bill

A proposal to cut Medicare spending in order to fund the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is being met with fierce opposition from U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9), other House Democrats and senior advocates.

On a Monday afternoon conference call, Schakowsky and U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA,6), co-chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Seniors, joined representatives from senior advocacy groups in denouncing a Senate-passed measure that would reauthorize TAA at Medicare’s expense. The TAA program provides aid to U.S. workers displaced as a result of trade agreements.

“All of us adamantly reject using Medicare as an ATM for unrelated issues, regardless of their merits,” Schakowsky said. “We support Trade Adjustment Assistance. In fact, I’d like to see it improved by increasing benefits, … but we are adamantly opposed to cutting Medicare to pay for it.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Currency Manipulation Key Issue In Heated Debate Over TPP, ‘Fast-Track’ Trade Bill

As debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal rages on, a growing number of lawmakers and economic experts are troubled by the massive trade agreement’s lack of strong rules against currency manipulation by foreign member countries. Calls for currency manipulation prohibitions in the TPP also come amid heated deliberation over legislation that would give President Barack Obama “fast-track” trade authority.

Currency manipulation involves a country artificially suppressing the value of its currency, usually relative to the U.S. dollar, to reduce the price of its exports, essentially giving itself a leg up over competitors. This practice is a key cause of the continuing U.S. trade deficit and has displaced between 1 million and 5 million American jobs.

It’s estimated that between $200 billion and $500 billion of the U.S. trade deficit is due to currency manipulation by foreign countries, according to research from the Washington, D.C.-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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