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

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyEnvironmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail Senate Democrat says he is concerned intelligence community is 'bending' Soleimani presentations Democrats conflicted over how to limit Trump's war powers 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 BrownSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Lawmakers call for FTC probe into top financial data aggregator MORE (Ohio), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Former Hawaii Democratic governor calls on Gabbard to resign Gabbard under fire for 'present' vote on impeachment MORE (Hawaii), and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations Advocates call for ObamaCare open enrollment extension after website glitches The US needs to lead again on disability rights 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 ReidThe Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial Left presses 2020 Democrats to retake the courts from Trump 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 WarrenThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Environmental activists interrupt Buttigieg in New Hampshire Pence to visit Iowa days before caucuses MORE (Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (R.I.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenBill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Al Franken mocks McConnell: 'Like listening to Jeffrey Dahmer complain about the decline of dinner party etiquette' MORE (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinLawmakers introduce bill to bolster artificial intelligence, quantum computing Trump's China deal is a gift to Wall Street and Beijing Stock buybacks point AT&T in the wrong direction MORE (Wis.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary 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 McConnellHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner 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 RyanBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record The TRUST Act is a plot to gut Social Security behind closed doors MORE bring up TPP in the lame-duck, we will defeat it,” he said.