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

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySupreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising Trump supporters demonstrate across the country following Biden-Harris win Merkley wins reelection in Oregon Senate race 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 BrownOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (Ohio), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (Hawaii), and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyScranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Grassley tests positive for coronavirus Casey says he isn't thinking about Pennsylvania gubernatorial bid in 2022 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 ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line 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 WarrenThomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Disney laying off 32,000 workers as coronavirus batters theme parks MORE (Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee MORE (R.I.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory MORE (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Next Congress expected to have record diversity Infrastructure, energy investments urgently needed to create U.S. jobs MORE (Wis.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIn defense of incrementalism: A call for radical realism Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality Trump will soon be out of office — but polarization isn't going anywhere 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 McConnellBiden's climate plans can cut emissions and also be good politics Acting Defense secretary makes surprise trip to Somalia As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on 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 RyanPaul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Bottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE bring up TPP in the lame-duck, we will defeat it,” he said.