August 7, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – Bipartisan opposition appears increasingly likely to scuttle the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal’s chances of passing in a post-election session of Congress.
While U.S. trade representative Michael Froman says the Obama administration’s “commitment to getting TPP passed this year has not wavered one iota,” strong opposition has emerged in both parties.
Obama relied on Republican votes to get “fast-track authority” for the 12-nation agreement last year, but GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has loudly opposed it, and the party’s platform says major trade deals “should not be rushed or undertaken in a lame-duck Congress.” “The votes aren’t there,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said July 26. On the Democratic side, both nominee Hillary Clinton and vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine, who previously supported the TPP, have come out against it, and grass-roots opposition is strong, especially among labor unions and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bid for the nomination. “The appetite for taking that vote in November or December 2016 has got to be close to zero,” said Thea Lee, deputy chief of staff at the AFL-CIO. Clinton’s advisers insist that she will not return to supporting the deal after the election. Read more