Clinton punts on trade

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCan Biden encompass the opposition he embodied? Disney silent on Trump status in Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom Biden has an opportunity to win over conservative Christians MORE said Tuesday she will wait until negotiations are completed to take a position on the sweeping Asia-Pacific trade deal being negotiated by the Obama administration.

“So, I have said I want to judge the final agreement,” she said during a campaign stop in Cedar Falls, Iowa. “I have been for trade agreements. I have been against trade agreements.”


Pressure on Clinton to take a position on trade has been coming from both sides, with liberal groups urging her to stand against the trade deal.

But doing so would be difficult for Clinton, who backed the deal as a member of President Obama's administration. Opposing it would mark a serious break with the White House. 

Obama is battling with Democrats in the House and Senate to secure passage of fast-track, which would prevent Congress from amending the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and ensure it gets an up-or-down vote.

If Clinton were to come out against the TPP deal, it’s likely even more Democrats in the House would follow her lead.

The former secretary of State said any deal must protect jobs and increase wages, produce strong health, labor and environmental standards, make the United States more globally competitive, be good for national security and “address, either directly or indirectly, currency manipulation."

She said reining in currency manipulation is important because “that’s been a big source of us not being as competitive as we want to be.”

She also expressed concerns on rules that could give corporations more power than consumers to overturn health, environmental and labor rules.

“I think that is a problem,” she said. 

The Senate could pass the fast-track bill this week, which would set up a bruising fight in the House.