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TPP Fight Dividing Democratic Party

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The fight over allowing President Obama to have fast-track authority to negotiate the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has divided the Democratic Party in WashingtonThe proposed agreement has long been at the center of concerns by various members of the Democratic coalition that are worried about another NAFTA style trade deal that will kill jobs and further degrade the environment.

A series of confidential documents posted by Wikileaks also showed that the supposed trade deal included expansion of intellectual property rights regimes, financial deregulation, and the creation of transnational corporate tribunals. The Wikileaks revelations combined with NAFTA angst have led labor, environmental, and civil liberties groups to oppose TPP bringing elected members of the Democratic Party along with them.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with the Democrats, highlighted his opposition to TPP by delayed a Senate Finance Committee markup of the bill and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has said “Hell no,” to Obama having fast-track authority. But the biggest critique of TPP and President Obama is coming from Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Warren took to MSNBC to say the deal was “rigged” and that if President Obama believes TPP is such a good deal for progressives he should show the public what is in the deal.

“They’re asking us to vote now to grease the skids,” Warren replied, “so therewon’t be any chance to amend or block it, won’t be any chance to slow it down.” She claimed that the administration is saying, “Give all that up, and you’ll get a chance to see the deal on the other side,” and she doesn’t think that’s acceptable.

Moreover, the only thing that the American public has been able to learn about the deal is who was negotiating it — corporate lobbyists. “My views is,” she stated, “when the process is rigged, the outcome’s likely to be rigged too.”

Senator Warren also noted that the agreement was primarily written by corporations and that the fast-track authority would let future presidents also jam through new parts of TPP agreements calling it a “blank check.”

The salient point of the critique is worth repeating – if President Obama believes this is such a great deal, let the people see it.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.