Bernie Sanders urges Hillary to fight trade deal

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday cranked up the pressure on Hillary Clinton to oppose President Obama’s trade push.

Sanders, who is weighing a long-shot bid for the White House, said Clinton and every other 2016 presidential candidate should oppose the 12-nation Asia-Pacific pact that the Obama administration is negotiating.

“My strong hope is that Secretary Clinton and all candidates — Republicans and Democrats — will make it clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership should be rejected and that we must develop trade policies that benefit working families, not just Wall Street and multi-national corporations,” Sanders said in a statement.

{mosads}Sanders echoed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in voicing opposition to the trade deal as a giveaway to big business.

“For decades, corporate America has been pushing disastrous trade agreements on the American people,” Sanders said. “The result: millions of jobs lost through outsourcing, lower wages and the collapse of our middle class.”

Clinton waded into the trade debate Friday, with a spokesman stating that the United States should “walk away” from any deal that doesn’t protect workers or national security.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign, told The New York Times that the Democratic front-runner “believes that any new trade measure has to pass two tests.”

“First, it should put us in a position to protect American workers, raise wages and create more good jobs at home. Second, it must also strengthen our national security. We should be willing to walk away from any outcome that falls short of these tests,” Merrill told the Times.

Democrats are deeply divided on the trade push, with labor unions backing progressives in opposing Obama’s trade agenda. They argue that it would put U.S. workers in competition with low-wage workers overseas. 

Progressives have been urging Clinton to come out against the TPP, comparing it to the North American Free Trade Agreement from the 1990s — a deal that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, brokered while in the White House.

“We’re glad that Secretary Clinton is voicing concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Murshed Zaheed, the deputy political director at CREDO Action. “But to stop secret trade deals like the TPP, Secretary Clinton must speak out forcefully against Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority now while the debate is playing out in Congress.”

Lawmakers on Thursday unveiled a bipartisan proposal that would give Obama more power in negotiating TPP through a process known as “fast track,” or Trade Promotion Authority.

The legislation, while setting conditions that the trade pact must meet, would prevent Congress from amending the TPP, allowing only an up-or-down vote.

Congressional panels are expected to advance the legislation next week. 

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