By Robert A. Vella
President Obama’s highly controversial and unpopular neoliberal trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), may not pass Congress this year as he had hoped. After Republican leaders announced late last year that they would not allow a vote on it before the November election, Obama began pushing for a lame duck vote probably in December when outgoing legislators – who had felt political pressure from their constituents to reject the bill – might feel more inclined to support it. This sneaky ploy angered much of the grassroots bases in both parties, helped fuel a strong progressive challenge in the Democratic primaries by Bernie Sanders, and undoubtedly aided the insurgent nationalist candidacy of Donald Trump against his establishment Republican rivals.
Also before the primary election contests, now presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton switched her position from supporting the TPP to opposing it; however, all her chosen delegates in the recently-concluded platform committee voted against any inclusion of official language against Obama’s free trade agreement. This duplicity suggests that her position on the TPP could change yet again should she win the presidential election.
From Politico Playbook:
ASSUME TRADE DEAL DEAD — From our Playbook Interview with Speaker Paul Ryan, the Trans Pacific Partnership — which Donald Trump has sharply criticized — is not going to pass in Barack Obama’s term. Asked if it will pass this year, Ryan said, “No.” “I’ve got problems with [the trade deal] as they drafted it. Obviously I’m for trade agreements, I wrote [the fast-track trade bill] and I got it passed. But I think they made some pretty big mistakes in how they negotiated it and they gotta fix those. And I don’t know when that’s going to happen. … We don’t have the votes for it now, and I believe they have to fix some of these things. And I don’t know if and when they’re going to be able to fix those things.”
In other news: