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

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyCongress can open financial institutions to legal cannabis industry with SAFE Banking Act Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts 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: Treasury misses second Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Waters renews calls for impeachment | Dem wants Fed pick to apologize for calling Ohio cities 'armpits of America' | Stocks reach record high after long recovery Sherrod Brown asks Trump Fed pick why he referred to Cleveland, Cincinnati as 'armpits of America' Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (Ohio), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Facebook expects up to B FTC fine | DHS face scanning at airports sparks alarm | New Twitter tool targets election misinformation | Lawmakers want answers on Google 'Sensorvault' Dems accuse White House of caving to Trump's 'ego' on Russian meddling The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? MORE (Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' Overnight Energy: Collins receives more donations from Texas oil, gas industry than from Maine residents | Interior chief left meetings off schedule | Omar controversy jeopardizes Ocasio-Cortez trip to coal mine MORE (Hawaii), and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyBiden racks up congressional endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Trump tells House investigators 'no' Dems accuse White House of caving to Trump's 'ego' on Russian meddling 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 ReidSeven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary Senate buzzsaw awaits 2020 progressive proposals Sanders courts GOP voters with 'Medicare for All' plan 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 Ann WarrenColbert links large 2020 Dem field to Avengers: 'A group of every available person in the universe' Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary Sanders dominates, Buttigieg surges in 2020 social media battle MORE (Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' Senators press drug industry 'middlemen' over high prices MORE (R.I.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenBehar laments Franken resignation to Gillibrand: 'I really miss him now' Winners and losers from first fundraising quarter Election analyst says Gillibrand doesn't have 'horsepower to go the full distance' MORE (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Democratic proposals to overhaul health care: A 2020 primer More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts MORE (Wis.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersElection analyst says Biden could face uphill battle attracting small-dollar donors Gillibrand 'not worried' about being 'discounted' in 2020 race Biden's sloppy launch may cost him 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 McConnellElection agency limps into 2020 cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? Dems charge ahead on immigration 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 RyanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers FEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE bring up TPP in the lame-duck, we will defeat it,” he said.