Presidential races

Progressives pressure Clinton on TPP ahead of economic speech

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Progressive groups are urging Hillary Clinton to publicly announce that she opposes a lame-duck session vote on the Obama administration’s Pacific Rim trade deal.

After initially supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Clinton reversed after Bernie Sanders made his opposition to the deal one of the cornerstones of his insurgent campaign for the presidency.

{mosads}On Wednesday, the grassroots liberal groups Democracy for America and CREDO will begin circulating petitions urging Clinton to go further by making a public statement “urging the White House and Democratic congressional leadership to oppose any vote on the TPP, especially during the post-election lame duck session of Congress.”

The groups would like Clinton to make that declaration in her policy address on the economy this Thursday outside of Detroit.

Some progressives are worried that Democratic lawmakers, under pressure from the White House, will look to push the deal through the lame-duck session that falls after the November election but before the new administration and Congress are seated in January.

“Despite opposition from leading Democrats and progressives, the White House is pressing ahead,” the groups will say in a letter to supporters. “They are reportedly planning to hold a vote on the TPP in the ‘lame duck’ session after the November election, when Congress doesn’t have to face the consequences of their actions.”

“As the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton is in a unique position to help us stop the TPP,” the letter continues. “Donald Trump is going around the Midwest attacking Hillary Clinton over trade deals. By drawing a firm, public line in the sand against any vote on the TPP, she can help stop this bad deal while also stopping Trump.”

Some progressives still harbor doubts that Clinton is committed to blocking the trade deal.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and surrogate for the Clintons, inflamed those concerns at the Democratic National Convention last month, saying that the former secretary of State would support the deal or seek to renegotiate it if elected president.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta responded forcefully:

“She is against it before the election and after the election,” he told reporters at the time.
“She is not interested in renegotiating the TPP.”

The progressive groups highlighted Podesta’s remarks in their letter to supporters.

“Sec. Clinton’s top campaign official has signaled that she opposes a vote,” the groups said. “But if she makes her own public statement, it will send an urgently needed and powerful message to wavering Democrats.” 

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