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By Robert A. Vella

Here’s an update on the Democratic Party platform process being hammered-out this weekend along with latest news developments from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns.

From RTTPP becomes wedge issue for Democrats ahead of national convention:

A group of Democratic delegates have sent out a letter calling on fellow party members to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement ahead of final votes on the party’s platform at the Democratic National Convention.

“It must make clear that we oppose the TPP because if its failure to meet the high standards we believe should be enshrined in our trade agreements. We must address head on those who would say they are for fair trade when in reality they would do great damage to the working people we represent,” delegates in Connecticut, New Jersey and Ohio said in the letter, obtained by Politico.

The letters, sent out on Thursday and Friday to Platform Committee co-chairs Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Shirley Franklin, former mayor of Atlanta, were mailed just ahead of the 187-member Democratic National Committee meeting this weekend in Orlando.

From the Campaign for America’s FutureTPP In Democratic Party Platform Is A ‘Whose Side Are You On?’ Moment:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is likely to come up for a vote in the “lame-duck” session of Congress that follows the November presidential election. Will the Democratic Party vote to put the platform on record against this, or will corporate interests win out yet again? This is an either-or, whose-side-are-you-on moment that will define the election campaign.

If the Democratic National Committee does not put TPP opposition into the platform it will lead to a public, televised convention floor fight.

[…]

This weekend the full Democratic platform drafting committee meets in Orlando. Delegates will be debating an amendment offered by columnist and progressive activist Jim Hightower, a Sanders delegate, putting the party on record opposing a vote on the TPP during the “lame-duck” session of Congress that follows the election.

The amendment calls for striking platform language that effectively blesses Democrats who “have expressed support for the agreement” and replaces it with this: “It is the policy of the Democratic Party that the Trans-Pacific Partnership must not get a vote in this Congress or in future sessions of Congress.”

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have all announced opposition to a TPP vote in the lame-duck session, but Wall Street interests, corporate groups like the Chamber of Commerce, many Republicans – and, unfortunately, President Obama – are pushing for this anyway.

Despite statements of opposition to the TPP from both Clinton and Sanders, a subset of the committee recently voted down the proposal to oppose the TPP. A majority of delegates (all Clinton backers) expressed concern that this would bring the party in opposition to President Obama.

If the committee does not put this into the platform this weekend, there will be enough convention delegates opposing the TPP to guarantee a “floor fight” – a televised debate and a vote – over this at the convention. The outcome is fairly certain because all Sanders delegates support this amendment, and it is almost unthinkable that Clinton delegates will vote against Clinton’s own stated opposition to the TPP.

From The American ProspectWhy the Democrats Need to Sink the TPP:

Of all the misfortunes that may befall Hillary Clinton and the Democrats at their upcoming convention, the one they have most reason to fear is a platform fight over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. By repudiating the TPP, which has yet to come before Congress, and promising to repudiate those trade deals already in effect, Donald Trump is clearly scoring points with voters in Rust Belt states whose support the Democrats have long counted on in presidential elections. Earlier this year, Clinton reversed her provisional endorsement of the TPP, thereby aligning her position not only more closely with those Rust Belt voters’, but also with Bernie Sanders’s and most of the Democratic establishment (unions, environmentalists, and a clear majority of Democratic members of Congress).

[…]

Hillary Clinton needs this fight like a hole in the head. Should the issue come to the convention floor, not only will Sanders’s delegates vote to oppose the TPP, but hundreds of Clinton delegates may feel compelled to vote that way as well. Their ranks will include leaders or members of unions or environmental groups long on record against the TPP, and members of Congress from districts across the post-industrial Midwest. No less a Clinton supporter than former Congressman Barney Frank, whom party head Debbie Wasserman Schultz appointed to chair the convention’s Rules Committee, has repeatedly argued that Obama should abandon his quest to get the TPP ratified.

Worse yet, imagine the debate that would ensue at the convention. TPP opponents will cast the document as a vestige of the party’s Wall-Street-influenced ancien regime, which crafted the deals that enriched major investors and consigned the nation’s industrial workforce to history’s ash heap. Whatever the deal’s defenders may say—it won’t be as bad as earlier ones? We’re against it but we can’t forsake the president?—will hardly help Clinton and the Democrats in Ohio and Pennsylvania this fall.

From USA TodaySanders seeks platform changes before possible Clinton endorsement:

Sanders has said he is prepared to bring amendments to the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia if the party doesn’t take more progressive stances in its platform. That seems unlikely now, given his confirmation that he is preparing to endorse Clinton.

“We have got to do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton,” he said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg’s Albert R. Hunt for PBS’ Charlie Rose program.

Additional updates:

Hillary Clinton accepts Bernie Sanders’ call for a $15 minimum wage, rejects two Social Security amendments which would lift the cap on S.S. taxes and would create a more accurate cost of living index for benefits

Clinton Partially Adopts Sanders Proposal for Free Public University Tuition

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