President Obama has criticized fellow Democrats who oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, or TPP. The 12-nation pact would encompass 40 percent of the global economy and is being negotiated in secret. In an interview on MSNBC, Obama responded to criticism from Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who says the TPP would undermine U.S. sovereignty and help the rich get richer.
President Obama: “I love Elizabeth. We’re allies on a whole host of issues. But she’s wrong on this. … Everything I do has been focused on how do we make sure the middle class is getting a fair deal. Now, I would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was good for the middle class. And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad this trade deal is, when you dig into the facts, they are wrong.”
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote today on a bill that would grant Obama so-called fast-track authority to negotiate the TPP, then present it to Congress for a yes-or-no vote, with no amendments allowed. The measure has received a growing chorus of protest, including from Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who said his stance on fast track is “hell no.” Public Citizen and the libertarian Cato Institute recently joined together to write an op-ed criticizing a component of the TPP that would allow corporations to sue countries in front of a tribunal of private attorneys if a law interferes with their claimed future profits. “Analysts with the Cato Institute and Public Citizen usually stand on opposing sides of trade policy issues, but we find common ground in opposing this system of special privileges for foreign firms,” they wrote.