President Obama recently put Congress on notice that he will send the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to Congress for approval after the November election.

The TPP is a massive deal that incorporates 40 percent of the global economy, was negotiated behind closed doors by roughly 600 corporate advisers, while Congress and the public were locked out.

Though the TPP is referred to as a trade agreement, only six of its 30 chapters actually have anything to do with trade. One of the chapters that has provoked heated controversy is a separate supranational legal system that supersedes U.S. law.

The TPP grants new rights to thousands of multinational corporations to sue the U.S. government before a panel of three corporate lawyers. The panel awards sums to be paid by American taxpayers if a U.S. law or safety regulation violates their TPP rights, including the loss of expected future profits. Decisions are not subject to appeal, and the amount awarded has no limit.

Both presidential nominees have made opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership a central part of their campaign. Because Congress approved fast-track authority for the TPP in 2015, it gave away its right to make any changes or amendments to the TPP.

Nonetheless, Maine’s entire congressional delegation wisely opposed fast track – the very day the TPP text was finally revealed. Rep. Chellie Pingree released a public statement of opposition in a commentary in this paper. In April, Rep. Bruce Poliquin announced his opposition.

Now is the time for Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to protect Maine and publicly oppose the TPP and a lame-duck vote.

Martha Spiess

Freeport