Clinton and Sanders Oppose “Lame Duck” Vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton voiced opposition to lame duck consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying the proposed twelve-nation pact fails to meet her standards on American jobs, wages and national security, according to a candidate questionnaire published today by the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign. Candidate Bernie Sanders also opposed a lame duck vote on the TPP in his responses to an identical questionnaire.
“The Democratic candidates agree that attempting to sneak the TPP through during lame duck is completely and totally inappropriate,” said Michael Shannon, director of the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign. “Popular opposition to job-killing trade agreements is at an all time high. The votes clearly do not exist to pass the TPP before the election, and TPP proponents’ plan to try to get just-voted-out-of-office, looking-for-corporate-lobby-work Congress members to rubber stamp it after the election is something that more-and-more politicians are speaking out against.”
In their questionnaire responses, both Clinton and Sanders detailed their opposition to the TPP, a pact whose final text was released in November 2015, but has not yet been submitted for a vote in Congress. Many observers believe the TPP may be submitted for a vote during the “lame duck” session of Congress, after the election, before the newly-elected Congress is seated — a moment in the political calendar when accountability to constituents is at its lowest.
In response to the question, “If elected President, would you oppose holding a vote on the TPP during the ‘lame duck’ session before you take office?,” Clinton responded, “I have said I oppose the TPP agreement – and that means before and after the election,” and Sanders responded, “Holding a vote on the TPP during a ‘lame duck’ session would be going against the will of the people.”
Clinton detailed her opposition to the TPP in a number of areas:
- When asked about the TPP’s intellectual property provisions, she responded, “As I have said with respect to TPP, we need to make sure we’re not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers. Those provisions in the final TPP agreement are one of the reasons I opposed it.”
- When asked if she believes the TPP does enough on climate change, she responded, “I do not. As president I will ensure that our trade policy supports, rather than undermines, our policies to reduce emissions at home and encourage climate action abroad.”
- On investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), she said, “With respect to the flawed ISDS provisions in TPP, I believe we need to have a new paradigm for trade agreements that doesn’t give special rights to corporations, but not to workers and NGOs.”
- On labor and human rights abuses among TPP partner nations, she said, “I think we need a fundamental rethink of how we approach trade deals going forward. It is critical that we address labor protections and ensure that human rights are protected.”
- In another response, she wrote, “One of the reasons I opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was my concern that we need to do more to address currency manipulation. I will take on foreign countries that keep their goods artificially cheap by manipulating their currencies, and expand our toolbox to include effective new remedies to respond, such as duties, tariffs, or other measures.”
- She also said the TPP’s rules of origin provisions are not adequate to protecting American jobs, particularly “its weak rules of origin standard for what counts as a car that can get treaty benefits.”
Sanders also detailed his opposition to the TPP in a number of areas:
- When asked about the TPP’s intellectual property provisions, he responded, “A major reason why I am leading the fight against the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership is because it would significantly increase prices for prescription drugs for some of the most desperate people in the world.”
- When asked if he believes the TPP does enough on climate change, he responded, “No… We need to fundamentally rewrite our trade agreements to protect the environment and raise living standards in the U.S. and throughout the world.”
- On investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), he said, “As president, I will not approve any trade agreement that gives foreign corporations the right to undermine American democracy through the disastrous Investor State Dispute Settlement system.”
- On labor and human rights abuses among TPP partner nations, he said, “In my view, the TPP is not, nor has it ever been, the gold standard of trade agreements. That is especially true when it comes to addressing human rights abuses abroad.”
- In another response, he wrote, “My Administration would use every means necessary to end currency manipulation and stop the outsourcing of American jobs.”
- He also said the TPP’s rules of origin provisions are not adequate to protecting American jobs, adding, “That is unacceptable.”
The Oregon Fair Trade Campaign is a statewide coalition of labor, environmental and human rights organizations working together in support of better trade policies. The coalition also approached the Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich campaigns with the same questionnaire, but did not receive responses.