When people say that Bernie Sanders has pushed Hillary Clinton to the left, there is no greater issue to prove that point than her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The TPP is a huge deal between the U.S., Canada and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region that’s been under negotiation for over a decade. Its aim is to phase out thousands of tariffs, open markets and impose new trade rules, including for labor rights and environmental standards.
Critics contend the document is full of special deals for various U.S. trading partners, foreign corporations, and multinational U.S. businesses.
Clinton famously praised the deal back in 2012, hailing it as “setting the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.”
It made sense at the time for Clinton, as the TPP is supported by the political and business establishment in D.C. on both sides of the aisle, with no bigger champion for the deal that Barack Obama.
But the deal is loathed by liberals in the Democratic Party, and Sanders has received lots of traction for his opposition. And then Clinton announced last year she was also against it.
Over a year ago, I asked Donald Trump in Sarasota where he stood on the deal.
“I think it stinks!,” he replied. “I think it’s terrible. Because they don’t cover currency manipulation. If you look at China, if you look at Japan, they beat us on currency manipulation. And we don’t even talk about it.”
China is not in the TPP, but whatever.
So what’s going to happen to this deal, anyway? The NY Times’ Jackie Calmes reports this morning that there is still fading hopes in the D.C. Establishment that it can pass during the lame duck session of Congress that will take place after the November election but before the new Congress begins in January (Maybe at the same time that the Senate will confirm Merrick Garland?) However, for it to pass in the lame-duck means there would have to be votes before the election.
Under the terms of trade legislation that helped Mr. Obama complete the accord, Congress must hold public hearings on the agreement before it is voted on, and a lame-duck session would not provide enough time for committee action and House and Senate debates.
President Obama predicted last week that the measure would pass this year. So can Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan (who both support approving the measure) outmuscle the opposition? Stay tuned, because apparently this issue will come to a head before November.
In other news …
Bill Nelson‘s Commerce Committee delivered a stunning report yesterday, detailing how four automakers are still selling defective air bags to new customers — and not telling them that their car will have to be recalled in two years.
Two new candidates rumored to be jumping into the Tampa City Council special election District 7 seat surfaced yesterday — attorney Luis Veira and recently retired police officer Orlando Gudes are now in the contest, joining Gene Siudut and Cyril Spiro.
With talks progressing between Hillsborough County officials and the Tampa Bay Rays about a stadium in Tampa, Americans for Prosperity-Florida is warning Tampa Bay lawmakers not to put taxpayers on the hook to pay for such a park.
Senator Nelson says he “loves” Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders is a “friend of mine.” Nevertheless, he’s also telling the Vermont senator it’s time to get out of the presidential race.
And a programming reminder. I’ll be in NYC this weekend attending the Governors Ball music festival (and potentially a lot of thunderstorms), so the MPR won’t return until next Tuesday. See you then.