Classified White House Briefing On TPP Angers House Democrats
— Jim Hightower & Crew (@HightowerNews) March 17, 2015
Though numerous economists have now spoken out that the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) is a loser for the average American, President Obama is determined to see the TPP rule. Now the White House has gone so far as to demand that briefings before Congress on the controversial trade deal be classified.
House Democrats have been told they can attend a briefing on TPP tomorrow with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on the condition that they treat it as classified and bring only one staffer who must be “active Secret-level or high clearance” compliant with House security rules.
The demand for such a high level of secrecy for a mere briefing on the trade deal only reinforces the criticism the Obama Administration has faced for its approach to the agreement lacking transparency and openness.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told The Hill that the administration is being “needlessly secretive.” “Even now, when they are finally beginning to share details of the proposed deal with members of Congress, they are denying us the ability to consult with our staff or discuss details of the agreement with experts,” DeLauro told The Hill.
Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) condemned the classified briefing.“Making it classified further ensures that, even if we accidentally learn something, we cannot share it. What is USTR working so hard to hide? What is the specific legal basis for all this senseless secrecy?” Doggett said to The Hill.“Open trade should begin with open access,” Doggett said. “Members expected to vote on trade deals should be able to read the unredacted negotiating text.”
Then again, being out the loop is good preparation for what the consequences of the TPP will be. Part of the deal involves disenfranchising Congress and the US government entirely and empowering transnational corporate tribunals to make decisions that will impact signatory countries. Get used to the darkness Congress.
Given President Obama’s determination to jam the bill through Congress and Congressional Republican’s corporatist loyalties the only people who can stop the TPP deal are the Democrats in the Senate, though it remains to be seen as to whether they are collectively willing to alienate corporate donors even in an off-year.