With Both Presidential Candidates Claiming To Be Against The TPP, President Obama Kicks Off Campaign To Ratify It
from the so-that'll-be-interesting dept
Even as the candidate that President Obama is supporting, Hillary Clinton, has been increasingly insisting that she really (no, really) is against the TPP (despite being for it prior to this campaign) — and even as Donald Trump has been vehemently against it, despite trade agreements usually getting strong support from the GOP — President Obama is making a big push to get the TPP ratified by Congress. It needs a majority vote in both houses of Congress to be ratified in the US. Last week, we noted the weird situation where everyone’s position on the agreement appeared to be wishy-washy, though mostly for all the wrong reasons.
But that’s not stopping Obama from having his cabinet make a big push to get it approved by Congress:
Among those who will hit the road will be Secretary of State John F. Kerry; Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter; retired Admiral Michael G. Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama; Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the United States Pacific Command; and William Cohen, a former Republican senator and defense secretary under President Bill Clinton.
Of course, everyone knows that it won’t be voted on until after the election.
Although the administration’s push will begin in September, no vote on the accord will occur before the election. Just as the White House and congressional Republican leaders mostly agree on the economic benefits of trade, they have parallel political interests in delaying debate.
Republicans do not want to provoke attacks from their presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, who called the trade accord “a rape of our country,” or hurt other Republican candidates. Mr. Obama does not want to make trouble for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who has struggled to persuade voters of her sincerity in switching from support of the pact to opposition. This month, during an economic address in Michigan, she declared, “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.”
But, of course, that seems like it could also make a so-called “lame duck” vote pretty damn awkward as well. Yes, after the charade of the election is over, perhaps politicians will revert to their previous positions supporting the deal, but even at their most cynical, it seems a bit crass to do so right after the election. It would just underscore how absolutely full of shit they were during the campaign season. Maybe that doesn’t have political consequences… but it should.