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Democrat to block Obama trade nominee

Democrat to block Obama trade nominee

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownTrump sparks imitator in Ohio Senate race Senate passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown Senate advances funding measure, avoiding shutdown MORE (D-Ohio) said Friday that he will block a trade nominee’s Senate floor vote until the Obama administration makes the text of a sweeping transpacific agreement available to eligible staffers. 

Brown said he put a hold on the Marisa Lago, whose nomination for deputy U.S. trade representative cleared the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month but awaits a final confirmation vote from the full Senate. 

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“The administration would rather sacrifice a nominee for a key post than improve transparency of the largest trade agreement ever negotiated,” Brown said in a statement.

“This deal could affect more the 40 percent of our global economy, but even seasoned policy advisors with the requisite security clearance can’t review text without being accompanied by a Member of Congress,” he said. 

A U.S. trade spokesman said in response to the hold that the “administration has taken unprecedented steps to increase TPP transparency and access” and that every lawmaker has access to the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating text, as well as professional staff members on committees with jurisdiction. 

“Our focus is on completing the TPP, which will be posted online in its entirety for the American people to review for months before the president even signs it and for longer before it comes to a vote,” the spokesman said. 

He said trade negotiators would continue to consult with Congress in the meantime.

Separately, a U.S. trade official reiterated that earlier this year a full draft of the TPP text was put into an office in the Capitol so lawmakers and their staffs could access the document at their convenience. 

Brown asked for the text to be made fully accessible to those with proper security clearances by noon Friday.