About 30 people gathered Friday afternoon at the Fresno office of Rep. Jim Costa to urge the Democratic congressman to vote no on streamlined approval of a controversial free-trade agreement.
Friday's rally was organized by the Communication Workers of America and other unions, and is aimed at the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed pact between the U.S. and nations in North and South America and Asia.
More than 150 Democratic representatives in the House have signed a letter telling President Barack Obama they oppose a fast-track approval of the TPP because it would curtail congressional input on the agreement. "Congress, not the Executive Branch, must determine when an agreement meets the objectives Congress sets in the exercise of its … constitutional authority to set the terms of trade," the letter states.
According to the letter's authors — Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and George Miller, D-Calif. — the fast-track process "allows the White House to submit trade agreements to Congress without giving members … the opportunity to amend the deal."
To date, Costa is not among the House members who have signed the letter. Stan Santos, a local representative of the CWA, said Costa has agreed to meet with the labor representatives when he returns from Washington to the district later this month.