Is TPP Really Dead? Don’t Bet On It

Dave Johnson

Recent headlines might make us think the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is “dead” or at least at “death’s door.” We can hope. But the Wall Street, giant multinational corporations, many Republicans in Congress and unfortunately the Obama administration are still pushing hard for a “lame duck” vote after the election.

Here are examples of recent headlines claiming TPP is near death:

Politico: “How Trump and Clinton teamed up to sink trade. Their bipartisan antipathy has the Pacific trade pact on death’s door.”

The Washington Post: “Obama’s trade agenda losing critical support as McConnell calls TPP passage unlikely.”

Politico Morning Trade: “TPP outlook more grim by the moment.”

But…

The same Morning Trade report has this:

But the door is slightly ajar for a lame-duck vote, based on comments made earlier in the week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. And that’s heartened trade boosters in the administration and business groups that are pressing for approval of the deal now. Note that TPP also has the benefit of Trade Promotion Authority working for it, allowing the deal to get an up-or-down vote, without amendment.

“It’s premature to write off TPP in 2016. Politicians are right now distracted by the upcoming conventions but at an appropriate time this fall we believe there is a window for securing congressional passage of TPP,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

So no, not dead, just waiting for the right moment. Wall Street and the giant corporations want TPP and they want it bad. And what Wall Street and the giant corporations want, Wall Street and the giant corporations usually get. Especially in an unaccountable “lame duck” congressional session.

Clinton Strong Against TPP

The draft of the 2016 Democratic Party platform opposes trade deals that contain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions – like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the upcoming Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). These provisions grant special “corporate court” privileges that allow corporations to sue governments for laws and regulations that limit their profits. These provisions supposedly “protect” investors from the whims and wishes of those pesky democracies.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at Tuesday’s New Hampshire rally following Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of her for president. She clearly and specifically stated her opposition to the TPP, saying, “And we’re going to say no to attacks on working families and no to bad trade deals and unfair trade practices, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

We have Clinton, Sanders and the Democratic platform saying that TPP is unacceptable. (Even Donald Trump opposes TPP, for what it’s worth.) Every labor union, progressive-aligned organization, environmental organization and many, many others oppose TPP. Those in the public who are aware of TPP and what it contains are opposed. It would be an insult to democracy to go ahead and hold a vote on TPP after the election, but before the new president and Congress are sworn in. But that never stopped Wall Street, the giant corporations and our paid-off elites before.

Democratic candidates need to align themselves with the Democratic platform and publicly declare themselves opposed to TPP, as Clinton has done. They should make sure that what people are saying about TPP having no chance of passing is true.

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