Warren to Obama: Stop making ‘untrue’ trade claims

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told President Obama on Saturday he was making “untrue” claims about his opponents — including herself.

The feud between Obama and the left continued Saturday, when Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called on the president to immediately declassify the negotiating terms of a pending trade deal with a host of nations known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

{mosads}In an effort to push through trade legislation that would help finalize the deal, Obama has blasted critics on the left, saying they are “wrong” and “don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Liberal critics of the trade deal have griped that the terms have not been made public, arguing it amounts to a secret deal hammered out by other nations with influence from huge corporations.

Obama equated that argument to the “death panels” floated during the ObamaCare debate, as a claim so far-fetched as not to be taken seriously, adding that members of Congress have been frequently briefed on the talks.

“Someone coming up with a slogan like ‘death panels’ doesn’t mean it’s true,” he said Thursday. “The same thing is true on this. Look at the facts, don’t just throw a bunch of stuff out there.”

In response to those claims, Warren and Brown told Obama to release the text of the negotiations to the public. While members of Congress can review documents, it is illegal to release them to the public or discuss specifics.

And if, as Obama says, the trade deal is his best effort to carve out good terms for the working class, they argued there is no reason not to let the public review it before it is finalized.

“The American people should be allowed to see for themselves whether it’s a good deal for them,” they wrote.

“Characterizing the assessments of labor unions, journalists, members of Congress and others who disagree with your approach to transparency on trade issues as ‘dishonest’ is both untrue and unlikely to serve the best interests of the American people,” they added.

The two went on to argue the administration has handed an outsized amount of influence to corporations in hammering out the deal. They said the 28 trade advisory committees on the TPP have 566 members, and 480 of them are “senior corporate executives or industry lobbyists.”

“Fast-track” legislation that would limit Congress’s ability to amend trade deals is currently pending before both chambers of Congress, with healthy backing from congressional Republicans. But Warren and Brown also criticized the legislation for going beyond the current trade deal, handing expanded power to future administrations by limiting congressional input as far forward as 2021.

“No one knows who will be using this authority once you leave office,” they said.

Tags Barack Obama Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren Sherrod Brown
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