Anti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' Joe Manchin keeps Democrats guessing on sweeping election bill MORE (D-Ore.) sent a sharp warning to his colleagues Thursday: If senators approve President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, they’re crazy. 

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“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome,” he told reporters. “If policymakers proceed to adopt the TPP they should be committed to an insane asylum.” 

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Merkley — as well as Democratic Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBiden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' MORE (Ohio), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyRon Johnson booed at Juneteenth celebration in Wisconsin Black lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination MORE (Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill White House gets back to pre-COVID-19 normality MORE (Hawaii), and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyMcConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats Senate filibuster fight throws Democrats' wish list into limbo Parliamentarian changes Senate calculus for Biden agenda MORE (Pa.) — are pushing President Obama to renegotiate the TPP before he sends the 12-country Pacific Rim pact to Congress. 

The trade deal has pitted Obama against top Democrats in Congress, including Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBiden fails to break GOP 'fever' Nevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms MORE (Nev.). 

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), while giving the president credit for bolstering the economy, said the fight over the trade is a “basic disagreement.”

“We have a major disagreement with this particular trade agreement, and we hope it can be renegotiated with an eye toward focusing on wages,” he told reporters at a Thursday press conference. 

The five senators, along with fellow Democrats Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: The center strikes back Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax MORE (Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseCentrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle Lawmakers rally around cyber legislation following string of attacks Graham, Whitehouse: Global transition to renewables would help national security MORE (R.I.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenDemocrats, GOP face crowded primaries as party leaders lose control Gillibrand: 'I definitely want to run for president again' Maher chides Democrats: We 'suck the fun out of everything' MORE (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinOvernight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 MORE (Wis.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: The center strikes back Sanders against infrastructure deal with more gas taxes, electric vehicle fees Sunday shows - Voting rights, infrastructure in the spotlight MORE (Vt.), sent a letter to Obama Thursday laying out their objections to the agreement. 

“Passing the TPP in its current form will perpetuate a trade policy that advantages corporations at the expense of American workers,” they wrote. “Passing TPP before these and other provisions are fixed will hasten the erosion of U.S. manufacturing and middle class jobs, and accelerate the corporate race to the bottom.”

GOP leaders in both chambers have said the trade agreement will not come up in the lame-duck session, despite a push by the Obama administration to get it approved. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Graham calls voting rights bill 'biggest power grab' in history The wild card that might save Democrats in the midterms MORE (R-Ky.) reiterated that Thursday, telling reporters, “If we were going to have another discussion about trade, it would have to be led by whoever the next president is.”

Brown, however, appeared unconvinced, saying, “If you're convinced Mitch McConnell never tells a lie, be that as it may. I don't know what they're going to do.” 

“If the president and Mitch McConnell and Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNow we know why Biden was afraid of a joint presser with Putin Zaid Jilani: Paul Ryan worried about culture war distracting from issues 'that really concern him' The Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment's lack of power MORE bring up TPP in the lame-duck, we will defeat it,” he said.