Senator Cardin in the Hot Seat on Fast Track

Protestors target Maryland’s Senator Ben Cardin for being one of 14 Democrats who supports fast track, calling his ties to the pharmaceutical industry a motivation for his decision

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Story Transcript

PROTESTERS: No fast track, no way. Not ever, not today.

THOMAS HEDGES: What’s going on right now?

KEVIN ZEESE, ORGANIZER, POPULARRESISTANCE.ORG: We’re at Senator Ben Cardin’s office in Baltimore.

VIDEO CAPTION: Cardin is one of a handful of democratic senators that supports fast track for the presidency, which would open the floodgates for a number of so-called trade deals.

ZEESE: He’s one of 14 key votes. He’s seen as one of the key of those 14. If we get three of those to switch for tomorrow’s vote then we have stopped fast track for these trade agreements until they pull some other shenanigans and manipulate their system to undermine other victories that we have.

VIDEO CAPTION: Tuesday’s vote is the latest push on Capitol Hill to ram fast track through Congress after having been rejected in the House two weeks ago.

ZEESE: We mainly want, you know, it’s a message to Cardin. It’s also a message to rush hour, to the thousands of cars that are going by. And so it’s letting the public know that Cardin is selling them out. Cardin skirts on this stuff. He’s a, he’s a professional politician. He’s a career politician. He’s worked his way through the whole Democratic party ranks.

HEDGES: What about his funding?

ZEESE: And his funding is very much–if you look at his funding you’ll see a lot of people who will profit from these trade agreements.

HEDGES: Like what kind of industry?

ZEESE: Pharmaceutical industry is one big example.

MARGARET FLOWERS, ORGANIZER, POPULARRESISTANCE.ORG: The pharmaceutical industry is just going to go over the top with their ability to profit from this in terms of long patents, barriers to generics. There’s a huge boon to them that’s going to translate to real suffering and death for our patients who can’t afford these medications.

ZEESE: So it basically destroys the generic market, which means inflated prices and inflated profits for people who contribute to Cardin’s campaigns. And we all suffer from it. We all get overpriced pharmaceutical drugs because of Ben Cardin. And people should not forget that. He should be held accountable for that. I hope he ends his career with electoral defeat because of his support for these kinds of, these corporate, rigged trade agreements.

MACKENZIE MCDONALD WILKINS, ACTIVIST: Any senators or representatives who vote for fast track throughout the country are going to be challenged in upcoming elections. They’re going to be primaried, meaning that we’re going to run a candidate against them in the primaries. And so here in Baltimore we’re going to have to have a serious candidate running against Cardin, calling him out for betraying our city, for betraying our state and our democracy, and our country and our earth.

End

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