Obama: 'Nothing secret' about Pacific trade deal

Obama: 'Nothing secret' about Pacific trade deal
President Obama took time out of an impromptu Twitter Q&A on climate change Thursday to defend a sweeping Pacific trade agreement that’s one of his top second-term priorities.

Obama wrote that there is “nothing secret” about the deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, rebutting a criticism frequently made by liberal opponents of the deal.

He made the statement in response to a question about making the text of the deal available.

The president’s ability to persuade congressional Democrats to back his trade agenda will be tested next month, when the House is expected to take up a package of trade bills including trade promotion authority (TPA).

The president views the TPA bill as essential for completing the Pacific trade deal; it would allow Congress to vote on the pact but not add amendments that could kill it.

Many Democrats in Congress oppose the bill, also known as fast-track, out of concern new trade deals will ship jobs overseas. Some Republicans are reluctant to grant Obama more power.

Liberal critics, such as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenKamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach No, the government cannot seize, break or 'bypass' pharmaceutical patents — even for COVID-19 MORE (D-Mass.), have accused the administration of keeping details of the trade bill from the public. The administration has noted that members of Congress and their staffs have the opportunity to read the text of the deal in a secure room inside the Capitol complex.

Obama also defended the trade deal against claims from green groups it will undermine environmental protections abroad.