Archives‎ > ‎

Hillary says she's for the 99%, but equivocates on TPP, from Peter Myers

(1) American Unions defeat TPP Fast-Track; workers' feel Existential
fear of Trade deals
(2) SWP Trots condemn Unions' Protectionist opposition to TPP
(3) Robert Reich urges Hillary to oppose TPP
(4) Hillary sides with the 99%; but vague on TPP & trade issues
(5) Hillary says she opposes Big Business; but vague on Free Trade
(6) Hillary in 2012: “we need ... Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP"
(7) TPP Proponents close to Clinton remain Optimistic about her Support
(8) Larry Summers for TPP
(9) Boehner, House Republicans working to Resurrect Trade Bill
(10) Hillary dodges Bernie Sanders' questions about where she stands on TPP

(1) American Unions defeat TPP Fast-Track; workers' feel Existential
fear of Trade deals

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/business/labors-might-seen-in-failure-of-trade-deal-as-unions-allied-to-thwart-it.html?_r=0

Labor’s Might Seen in Failure of Trade Deal as Unions Allied to Thwart It

Richard Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, called labor’s efforts
“democracy in action.”

By NOAM SCHEIBER

June 13, 2015

WASHINGTON — Depleted by decades of diminishing reach and struggling to
respond to recent anti-union laws, the labor movement has nonetheless
found a way to assert itself politically by wreaking havoc on President
Obama’s trade agenda, a top priority of his final years in office.

On Friday, stiff labor opposition helped derail a measure necessary to
clear a path for an up-or-down vote on a sweeping trade deal that the
White House is negotiating with 11 other nations bordering the Pacific
Ocean.

“Labor worked on this long and hard,” Representative Gregory Meeks, a
Queens Democrat sympathetic to the emerging deal, known as the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.), said on the eve of the vote. “If
labor was neutral on this issue, and members were allowed to just make a
decision on their own, this bill would not have a problem in passing.”

While a broad coalition of unions and liberal activists can claim credit
for beating back the president’s favored legislation, the key to labor’s
display of force in Congress, according to supporters and opponents of
the trade deal, was the movement’s unusual cohesion across various
sectors of the economy — including public employees and service workers
not directly affected by foreign competition.

Labor leaders and their rank and file feared that, whatever the overall
benefits to the economy, the emerging deal would accelerate the loss of
blue-collar jobs that pay well. “The pay levels people would have to
compete with are obscene,” said Larry Cohen, a former Communications
Workers of America president, who led the coalition. There is evidence
that freer trade has reduced the incomes of those without college degrees.

Since March, according to the A.F.L.-C.I.O., union members have held 650
events opposing the legislation. They have made about 160,000 phone
calls to members of Congress and written more than 20,000 letters. The
federation also produced digital ads, which have received more than 30
million views, aimed at several dozen members of Congress.

“We are very grateful for all the activists, families, community leaders
and elected officials who worked so tirelessly for transparency and
worker rights in international trade deals,” Richard Trumka, the
A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, said in a statement. “This was truly democracy
in action.”

While it is still possible for labor to lose if the House Republican
leadership manages to revive the legislation necessary to pass the
so-called trade promotion authority this week, the odds for such a
reversal are long, analysts say.

Labor’s smartest move was lining up opposition to the president’s trade
agenda as early as 2013, when the fight was still a distant prospect.
“They did a good job getting out and defining T.P.A. early among
Democratic House members, really peeling off an enormous number of folks
who didn’t have long history or an understanding of the issue, prior to
the White House engaging,” said Simon Rosenberg, president of the
advocacy group NDN and a supporter of Mr. Obama’s effort.

Mr. Rosenberg pointed in particular to a letter labor activists helped
circulate late that year, which roughly 150 House Democrats signed. “It
was a letter that was going to make it hard to vote for T.P.A. once you
signed it,” Mr. Rosenberg said. [...]

The across-the-board mobilization by labor unions reflected two pivotal
developments since the late 1990s. First was the dawning realization
that even public sector workers who appear to be insulated from global
competition could ultimately feel its dislocating effects. Mr.
Schaitberger said the firefighters had learned all too well that
deindustrialization leads to urban decay and declining property values,
which can increase demand for public services while it drains cities of
the revenue to pay for them.

More recently, the public sector unions, under increasing assault from
Republicans in Congress and in several big states like Wisconsin,
Michigan and Indiana, found that the rapid decline of industrial unions
had left them politically vulnerable as well.

“It’s whatever that version of the statement was in Germany — ‘First
they came for the Gypsies, then they came for me,’ ” said Andrew L.
Stern, international president of S.E.I.U. until 2010. “It was sort of
capitalism versus the private unions. Now it’s political leaders against
public unions, and there’s no one to temper it.”

Labor leaders and activists argue that when private sector workers
belong to unions and have pensions and rising wages, they are more
sympathetic to public sector workers who desire the same. But when
private sector workers lose these benefits, they become more hostile to
what they see as special treatment for their counterparts on the
government payroll.

A growing sense of existential fear explains the ferocity of labor’s
assault on otherwise friendly Democrats. In recent days, after
Representative Kathleen Rice of Long Island reversed her previous
opposition to trade promotion authority, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. paid for an
advertisement in her district that questioned her character, not just
her position on a procedural trade vote.

“On Saturday, Rice flip-flopped,” a narrator in the ad intoned. “Actions
speak louder than words. Why should we ever trust Kathleen Rice again?”

Ms. Rice, a former prosecutor, questioned the wisdom of labor’s tactics.
“Do I think it’s wise to spend their members’ hard-earned money
attacking someone who agrees with them on just about every other issue,
in an election where my opponent will no doubt be anti-union,
anti-workers’ rights?” she said in an interview. “No, I don’t.”

Such hard-nosed tactics might previously have alienated other Democratic
constituency groups. In the last few years, however, the hostility of
the industrial unions toward trade deals has spread to a growing roster
of liberal activists and has even captured the support of some wealthy
donors who once advocated increased trade and globalization but now view
the latest deals as mostly a sop to big business.

Moreover, labor leaders believed that they had license to attack wayward
Democrats in the House, where Republicans are entrenched in power, even
if it meant losing a few generally friendly votes.

“Losing a couple seats in the House is a lot different than losing them
in the Senate,” said Mr. Stern, the former S.E.I.U. leader. “It is
better to punish than it is to reward.”

(2) SWP Trots condemn Unions' Protectionist opposition to TPP

http://socialistworker.org/2015/06/03/labors-dead-end-on-the-tpp

Analysis: Ruth Hurley

Labor's dead-end strategy against the TPP

Ruth Hurley, a union activist, argues that the fast-track fiasco shows
unions must end their reliance on nationalism and the Democrats.

June 3, 2015

WHEN THE Senate agreed to give President Barack Obama "fast track"
authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) economic
agreement, it wasn't just a defeat for people who care about the planet
and the rights of everyone who live on it. It was another sign that the
strategy of U.S. unions of allying with U.S. bosses and the Democratic
Party is an abject failure.

The TPP, which has been negotiated in total secrecy by a cabal of 600
corporate vultures, including the likes of Walmart and Verizon, would
include 12 countries bordering the Pacific Rim. It is designed to be a
counterweight to China's increased regional influence.

The only details we know about the agreement are those that have been
published by Wikileaks. As SocialistWorker.org's Ashley Smith put it,
the treaty is "a bonanza for American multinationals--and a disaster for
workers, peasants and the environment throughout the Asia Pacific."
Among other things, it extends patents for expensive but life-saving
drugs, increases privatization, and allows corporations to sue
governments to over environmental laws and other regulations that can be
construed as "obstacles to commerce."

The AFL-CIO and many unions threw themselves into months of lobbying and
member organizing against the deal. But their "allies" among the Senate
Democrats offered only an elaborate show of resistance. Some refused to
approve fast track if the authority didn't include a provision to block
countries from devaluing their currency to make their exports cheaper.
This blocked the Senate's consideration of the treaty--but only for 24
hours, when the Democrats caved and let the authority go through.

Former Clinton administration official Bill Curry ruthlessly but
accurately deconstructed the charade in Salon:

  On Tuesday [Senate Democrats] staged a pantomime of fast-track
resistance that should have fooled no one but seemed to fool everyone.
Forty-four of 46 Senate Democrats, three more than needed to sustain a
filibuster, voted against a motion to let the bill go forward...

  Politico called it a "stunning defeat" for Obama; the White House
called it a snafu. It was neither. Democrats were just caught in their
familiar bind of needing to send highly conflicting signals to their
donors and their base. The next day, 10 free trade Dems who had stuck
with their caucus met with Obama, who pretended to lean on them by
releasing their names to the press, of all things. All 10 converted on
the spot.

  Hours later, Senate leaders agreed to a compromise that was little
more than a fig leaf for Democrats. Amazingly enough, the press treated
the whole business as if it were something other than mere shadow
puppetry. - - -

THERE ARE more problems with the labor movement's strategy against the
TPP than its reliance on Democrats, however.

Billing the TPP as "NAFTA on steroids," much of the its anti-TPP
campaign has focused on job losses due to free trade agreements. By
referencing the common-sense notion that manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
have all gone overseas, the AFL feeds into economic nationalism--that
"we" need to protect "our" jobs against foreign competitors.

This orientation misses some key points about where manufacturing jobs
have gone and undercuts the necessity of building class solidarity
across borders.

Following the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement,
manufacturing in the U.S. did decline. Between 2000 and 2010, 5 million
manufacturing jobs disappeared. Some jobs crossed the southern border as
companies moved operations to Mexico. Others moved not-as-far south--to
Tennessee, Alabama and other anti-union states where manufacturing
continues to grow faster than elsewhere in the U.S.

But far more were moved out of existence through automation--a trend
seen worldwide. A study of manufacturing jobs in the 20 largest
economies by Joe Carson, director of economic research at Alliance
Capital Management, in the period following NAFTA found nothing unique
about the loss of jobs in the U.S.[...]

(3) Robert Reich urges Hillary to oppose TPP

http://observer.com/2015/06/bill-clintons-labor-secretary-urges-hillary-clinton-to-oppose-tpp-at-kickoff/

Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary Urges Hillary Clinton to Oppose TPP at
Kickoff

By Jillian Jorgensen | 06/11/15 1:44pm

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who served under President Bill
Clinton and oversaw the roll-out of the North American Free Trade
Agreement, joined Mayor Bill de Blasio today in urging Hillary Clinton
to use her presidential campaign kickoff speech to oppose the
Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact—a deal Mr. Reich deemed “NAFTA on
steroids.”

“I would hope that she very clearly, specifically opposes the
Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Mr. Reich said of the former secretary of
state in a media conference call this afternoon.

Mr. de Blasio, Ms. Clinton’s former Senate campaign manager who has yet
to offer up an endorsement in the Democratic primary, also urged Ms.
Clinton to come out against the trade deal, which unions and progressive
politicians have derided as bad for American workers.

“I’d like to see a very clear statement that this trade deal should be
opposed and should be stopped,” Mr. de Blasio said.

While he knew what he’d like to hear, Mr. de Blasio has said he will not
attend Ms. Clinton’s campaign kick-off, which is being held Saturday
just down the East River from Gracie Mansion on Roosevelt Island. Today,
he recalled her speaking on trade issues in 2008 in a way that
“resonated” in states like Ohio, which he visited to campaign for her in
that year.

“I think it’s very important she speak up make clear that there will be
no more NAFTAs,” Mr. de Blasio said. “People all over the country, at
the grassroots, certainly Democrats all over the country, are looking to
her for leadership, and certainly her strong voice would make a very big
difference.”

Mr. Reich noted it would not be the first time Ms. Clinton, as a
candidate, has taken a position that differed from the policies of her
husband, former President Bill Clinton. He noted her recent push to end
mass incarceration.

“I hope that she does the same with the TPP, relative to NAFTA,” Mr.
Reich said.

Mr. Reich was charged with rolling out NAFTA under Mr. Clinton and, like
many who oppose the TPP, said the 1990s trade pact had delivered poor
results for American workers.

“Once the dust cleared, we did find that a lot of manufacturing jobs
left the U.S., they first went to Mexico and then they promptly went to
Southeast Asia,” Mr. Reich said.

He was also charged with enforcing the trade deal’s guidelines for
better labor conditions in other countries, but said it proved
“extraordinarily difficult to do,” something he suspected would hold
true for the TPP as well.

Mr. Reich and Mr. de Blasio bashed the idea of Congress holding a
“fast-track” up or down vote on the trade pact, very little of which has
been made public. The deal has pitted many in the left wing of the
Democratic party against President Barack Obama, who backs the deal.

“To have this large a trade agreement or investment agreement negotiated
in secret and fast tracked through Congress without any opportunity for
amendment, when most of America has no access to this trade agreement at
all—what I know about it was leaked through Wikileaks—it seems to me
makes a mockery of democracy,” Mr. Reich said.

(4) Hillary sides with the 99%; but vague on TPP & trade issues

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/us/hillary-clinton-attacks-republican-economic-policies-in-roosevelt-island-speech.html

Hillary Clinton, in Roosevelt Island Speech, Pledges to Close Income Gap

By AMY CHOZICK

June 13, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a speech that was at times sweeping and at
times policy laden, delivered on Saturday a pointed repudiation of
Republican economic policies and a populist promise to reverse the
gaping gulf between the rich and poor at her biggest campaign event to date.

Under sunny skies and surrounded by flag-waving supporters on Roosevelt
Island in New York, Mrs. Clinton pledged to run an inclusive campaign
and to create a more inclusive economy, saying that even the new voices
in the Republican Party continued to push “the top-down economic
policies that failed us before.”

“These Republicans trip over themselves promising lower taxes for the
wealthy and fewer rules for the biggest corporations without any regard
on how that will make income inequality worse,” she said before a crowd
estimated at 5,500, according to the campaign.

“I’m not running for some Americans, but for all Americans,” Mrs.
Clinton said. “I’m running for all Americans.”

Offering her case for the presidency, she rested heavily on her
biography. Her candidacy, she said, was in the name of “everyone who has
ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out.”

Mrs. Clinton portrayed herself as a fighter, sounding a theme her
campaign had emphasized in recent days. “I’ve been called many things by
many people, quitter is not one of them,” she said.

Standing on a platform set in the middle of a grassy memorial to
Franklin D. Roosevelt on the East River island named after him, Mrs.
Clinton invoked his legacy. She also praised President Obama and her
husband, former President Bill Clinton, but declared that “we face new
challenges” in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

While some Republican detractors have tried to make an issue of Mrs.
Clinton’s age (if she won she would be 69 when she took office in
January 2017), she sought to embrace it and to rebut the notion that she
cannot stand for change or modernity. Offering her campaign contact
information, she spoke about the lives of gay people, saying Republicans
“turn their backs on gay people who love each other.”

Interactive Feature | Who Is Running for President (and Who’s Not)? At
least a dozen Republicans and a handful of Democrats have expressed an
interest in running for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

In one of the biggest applause lines, she said: “I may not be the
youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman
president in the history of the United States.”

Underscoring the point with a riff on an old Beatles song, Mrs. Clinton
said: “There may be some new voices in the presidential Republican
choir. But they’re all singing the same old song.”

“It’s a song called ‘Yesterday,’ ” she continued. “They believe in
yesterday.”

Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee,
called the speech “chock-full of hypocritical attacks, partisan rhetoric
and ideas from the past that led to a sluggish economy.”

Mrs. Clinton specified policies she would push for, including universal
prekindergarten, paid family leave, equal pay for women, college
affordability and incentives for companies that provide profit-sharing
to employees. She also spoke of rewriting the tax code “so it rewards
hard work at home” rather than corporations “stashing profits overseas.”
She did not detail how she would achieve those policies or address their
costs.

Mrs. Clinton spoke to the criticism that her wealth makes her out of
touch with middle-class Americans, saying her candidacy is for “factory
workers and food servers who stand on their feet all day, for the nurses
who work the night shift, for the truckers who drive for hours.”

Uncomfortable with the fiery rhetoric of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the
Massachusetts Democrat, Mrs. Clinton offered some stark statistics to
address the concerns of the Democratic Party’s restless left. “The top
25 hedge fund managers make more than all of America’s kindergarten
teachers combined, often paying a lower tax rate,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton said many Americans must be asking, “When does my family
get ahead?” She added: “When? I say now.”

In a campaign in which Republicans have emphasized the growing threat of
Islamic terrorism and an unstable Middle East, Mrs. Clinton hardly
mentioned foreign policy. She did speak of her experience as a senator
from New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“As your president, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Americans safe,”
she said, weaving the skyline and a view of the newly built One World
Trade Center into her remarks.

For as much as the content of the speech mattered, the theater of it was
equally important. For a campaign criticized for lacking passion, the
event gave Mrs. Clinton the ability to create a camera-ready tableau of
excitement.

The Brooklyn Express Drumline revved up the crowd assembled on a narrow
stretch at the southern tip of the island. And Marlon Marshall, the
campaign’s director of political engagement, rattled off statistics
about the number of volunteers who have signed up and house parties held
in the early nominating states. A section with giant screens set up for
an overflow crowd stood nearly empty.

But a crowd of supporters and volunteers from the staunchly Democratic
New York area does not exactly represent the electorate writ large. The
real test for Mrs. Clinton and how the speech was perceived will be in
Iowa, where she was to travel on Saturday evening for several events.
Iowa, the first nominating state, shunned her the last time she sought
the presidency, in 2008.

“I was disappointed she didn’t challenge Obama four years ago,” said
Dominique Pettinato, a 24-year-old parole officer who lives in Brooklyn.

For some members of the skeptical liberal wing of the Democratic Party
still concerned that Mrs. Clinton will embrace her husband’s centrist
approach, the speech went only so far in convincing them otherwise.

“This was mostly a typical Democratic speech — much better than the
direction Republicans offer America,” said Adam Green, a co-founder of
Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal advocacy group. But he
said the speech had not offered “the bold economic vision that most
Americans want and need.”

Mrs. Clinton did not broach one issue that liberals are increasingly
frustrated by: trade. On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders, a socialist
from Vermont who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, pointedly
criticized Mrs. Clinton for not taking a position on a controversial
trade bill Mr. Obama is pushing, as well as other contentious issues
like the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and the renewal of the
Patriot Act. “What is the secretary’s point of view on that?” Mr.
Sanders asked of the act, which he voted against.

Mrs. Clinton had hardly stopped speaking Saturday when Bill Hyers, a
senior strategist for Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland,
who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, criticized
her as vague on trade and other issues. Mr. O’Malley, he said, “has been
fearless and specific in the progressive agenda we need.”

If there is one demographic Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is hoping to excite
it is young women. It is an obvious connection that her 2008 campaign
played down as it tried to present the former first lady as a strong
commander in chief.

But on Saturday it was clear that Mrs. Clinton will make gender more
central to her campaign this time. In her closing remarks, she called
for a country “where a father can tell his daughter yes, you can be
anything you want to be, even president of the United States.”
Correction: June 13, 2015

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a woman who
attended Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech. She is Dominique Pettinato,
not Pettin. An earlier version also misstated part of a quote by Allison
Moore, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. She said
Mrs. Clinton’s speech was “chock-full of hypocritical attacks,” not
hypothetical attacks.

(5) Hillary says she opposes Big Business; but vague on Free Trade

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/democrats-produce-trade-discord/391224/

Hillary Clinton's Hard Choice on Free Trade

The fight over the Trans-Pacific Partnership presents the former
secretary of state with a difficult dilemma.

  * David A. Graham

  * Apr 23, 2015

Harry Reid is mad at the Obama White House, which is pushing the
Trans-Pacific Partnership. “The answer is not only no but hell no,” the
Senate minority leader said. Elizabeth Warren is equally incensed:

"No more secret deals. No more special deals for multi-national
corporations. Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to fight any more
deals that say we're going to help the rich get richer and leave
everyone else behind?"

President Obama, the deal's biggest proponent, is mad at Warren. “I love
Elizabeth. We’re allies on a whole host of issues. But she’s wrong on
this.” (Warren sniped back in a blog post.)

Martin O'Malley, who opposes the deal, is mad at Hillary Clinton, who
has hedged on the TPP recently. "Americans deserve to know where leaders
stand," he tweeted.

Jeb Bush, who backs the deal, is also upset at Clinton. "It is time to
move forward as even recent Democratic presidents have recognized—and
Sec. Clinton shouldn’t stand in the way for political gain," he wrote on
Medium.

A GOP Deal to Give Obama More Trade Power

The politics of trade are weird.

Obama's biggest hurdle in getting the trade deal approved was always his
own party, as my colleague Russell Berman pointed out last week, when
negotiators reached a deal to fast-track the TPP. What's changed is that
the TPP has collided with the presidential race—in ways that are risky
for Hillary Clinton. The problem for Clinton is that she has
historically backed free-trade deals, and as secretary of state called
the TPP "the gold standard in trade agreements." Yet her campaign's big
push over the last week or two has been to prove her liberal bona fides.
Many progressives still don't like NAFTA, a product of Bill Clinton's
administration (actually, many Americans don't like NAFTA), and while
Hillary Clinton still looks like a prohibitive favorite in the
Democratic primary, rivals like O'Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders
oppose it, as do the labor unions that are a major part of the
Democratic coalition.

Clinton's approach so far has been to stay vague. "She will be watching
closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency
manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health,
promote transparency and open new opportunities for our small businesses
to export overseas," her campaign said Friday. On Tuesday in New
Hampshire, the candidate herself added, “Any trade deal has to produce
jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security.
We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and the
skills to be competitive.”

Those don't sound like full-throated endorsements, as O'Malley implied.
He followed up that tweet with an email to supporters with the subject
line "Hard choice?" (Clinton's memoir, released last June, was Hard
Choices.)

Then there was this awkward exchange in a press gaggle with White House
spokesman Eric Schultz on Wednesday:

  ... Do you consider Hillary Clinton an ally on this trade stuff?

  Evan, I'm going to side with you on this. I believe that the labor,
environmental and human rights concerns that many Democrats have voiced,
the President takes to heart. And he would not sign a deal unless those
protections are in place.

  If you look at the TPA agreement that was introduced in a bipartisan
way in the Senate, we believe that’s the most progressive in history and
that’s why the President is encouraged by it.

  So Secretary Clinton and President Obama are on the same page with trade?

  Well, look, I believe that if you look at the points that are being
raised in terms of human rights, environmental protections, labor
protections, that those are important priorities of this President. So I
haven’t seen anything to suggest any distance.

Here's the thing: Clinton has largely adopted the central liberal
critique. Warren, at least in theory, isn't opposed to all free-trade
deals‚ but she warns that the TPP could be a bad deal and that the
contents of the deal need to be public so that all Americans can read
them and make up their minds. That's where O'Malley is too. (In a video
in that email, O'Malley said, "I'm for trade, and I'm for good trade
deals. But I'm against bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific
Partnership.") Now Clinton has joined them, sort of, in saying that the
deal requires environmental and labor protections, while not quite
calling for total transparency.

Will that half-a-loaf approach satisfy constituencies like the AFL-CIO,
though? The group's president, Richard Trumka, blasted the deal at a
hearing Tuesday. "The livelihoods of workers are at stake here," he
said. "We need a different deal." Remaining vague has political upsides,
and it avoids the political circus that would come with an outright
break from the president. But it won't help her to convince progressives
she's one of them. Unlike same-sex marriage, for example, free trade
isn't usually a top-tier issue, but it's fairly easy for Clinton to
stand behind marriage equality in 2015, when the issue is largely
settled for many people. Taking a stance on the TPP is playing with live
ammunition.

Clinton still enjoys overwhelming support in the polls, and the fight
over the TPP seems unlikely to change that. But it highlights the
difficulties she faces as she attempts to win over her party's
progressive wing, without alienating other constituencies. It is proving
a difficult deal for Clinton to negotiate, as she attempts to fast-track
her bid for the Democratic nomination.

(6) Hillary in 2012: “we need ... Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP"

http://www.ibtimes.com/hillary-clinton-trade-deal-flip-flop-she-praised-trans-pacific-partnership-now-hedges-1887195

Hillary Clinton Trade Deal Flip-Flop? She Praised Trans-Pacific
Partnership, Now Hedges

By David Sirota @davidsirota d.sirota@ibtimes.com

and Matthew Cunningham-Cook @mattcunninghamc m.cunninghamcook@ibtimes.com

on April 17 2015 5:48 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton’s campaign said Friday she is still deciding whether to
support a controversial 12-nation trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific
Partnership. Progressive groups opposed to the deal lauded that
announcement. There’s just one hitch: Clinton is already on record
touting the agreement.

In November 2012, the then-secretary of state declared that “we need to
keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the
region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. ...
This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free,
transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of
law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will
cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong
protections for workers and the environment.”

Those comments contrast with a statement given to the New York Times on
Friday by Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill. With progressive
lawmakers and activist groups saying the deal will kill domestic jobs
and unduly empower corporations, Merrill suggested Clinton may not
support the TPP she previously championed.

“Hillary Clinton believes that any new trade measure has to pass two
tests,” Merrill said. “First, it should put us in a position to protect
American workers, raise wages and create more good jobs at home. Second,
it must also strengthen our national security. We should be willing to
walk away from any outcome that falls short of these tests. The goal is
greater prosperity and security for American families, not trade for
trade’s sake.”

Of the current debate over the TPP, Merrill said of Clinton: “She will
be watching closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency
manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health,
promote transparency and open new opportunities for our small businesses
to export overseas.”

Clinton has a history of abruptly changing positions on trade policy.
When running for president in 2008, she criticized the North American
Free Trade Agreement, despite reports that she supported it while her
husband was president. Clinton also pledged to oppose a proposed free
trade agreement with Colombia. Only two years later, as secretary of
state, she backed that deal while her family's foundation received money
from a Colombian oil firm and its founder.

While in the Senate, Clinton supported free trade agreements with Chile,
Singapore and Oman, all opposed by unions in the United States.

At the time, the AFL-CIO said, “The labor provisions of the Chile and
Singapore FTAs will not protect the core rights of workers, and
represent a big step backwards.” The union federation also opposed the
deal with Oman. Its president, John Sweeney, noted that “the State
Department has identified Oman as a destination country for men and
women who become victims of trafficking and forced labor.”

Clinton’s new comments on the TPP drew measured praise from Credo
Action, one of the progressive groups urging Congress to block the deal.
The group also pushed Clinton to oppose the reauthorization of so-called
fast track authority that grants presidents more power to cement trade
deals.

“We’re glad that Secretary Clinton is voicing concerns about the
Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Murshed Zaheed, deputy political
director at Credo. “But to stop secret trade deals like the TPP,
Secretary Clinton must speak out forcefully against Fast Track Trade
Promotion Authority now while the debate is playing out in Congress.”

Clinton has not declared her position on the fast track proposal, which
is expected to be voted on in Congress in the coming days.

(7) TPP Proponents close to Clinton remain Optimistic about her Support

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/24/tpp-proponents-close-hillary-clinton-remain-optimistic-will-support-controversial-trade-agreements/

By Lee Fang

04/25/2015

Although Hillary Clinton went into great detail extolling the virtues of
President Obama’s proposed trade agreements while serving as secretary
of state, as a candidate for president Clinton has only offered vague
statements about her current position on the deals.

So how would a President Clinton decide on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? On Wednesday,
White House spokesperson Eric Schultz said he had not “seen anything to
suggest any distance” between Clinton’s position and the Obama
administration on the deals. And trade consultants close to Clinton
remain optimistic about her support.

Asked about Clinton’s TPP position at a recent Bloomberg News
conference, Jim Bacchus, former Democratic congressman from Florida,
said he is “sure Hillary will get to all of these things and I think she
has a good sense to be for trade as part of her overall approach to
America’s economic future.”

Later at the same conference, Bob Hormats, who served as Clinton’s under
secretary of state, said he could not speak on behalf of Clinton, but
emphasized that his former boss “understands very clearly that there are
enormous trade opportunities in Asia and creating jobs.”

Hormats now serves as vice chairman of Kissinger Associates, a
consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger that advises multinational
corporations on trade issues.

In Congress, Bacchus was a lead negotiator for NAFTA and later served as
chief judge of the World Trade Organization. Bacchus, who now works on
trade issues as the Global Practice Chair of the lobbying firm Greenberg
Traurig, said he was the first of Florida’s congressional delegation to
endorse Bill Clinton’s bid for the presidency, a supporter for Hillary
Clinton in 2008 and a strong supporter of her current presidential campaign.

In New Hampshire, Clinton recently said, “Any trade deal has to produce
jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security.”
She has also mentioned that she would like to see currency manipulation
as a key part of the deal.

But Clinton’s comments have not persuaded TPP critics. Indeed, vague
demands that any deal increase prosperity are more or less identical to
the rhetoric offered by strong TPP supporters. I spoke to Gov. Scott
Walker of Wisconsin last Saturday, who had this to say about the TPP and
TTIP (emphasis added):

  Well, I talked about TTIP the other day in Germany in Hanover at the
industrial fair there, and I think fair and open trade is a good thing
on either side of the continent for the United States, whethere it’s on
the Atlantic or the Pacific. Obvious the details need to be worked out
and there’s a lot of details including some specific to my state that
need to be worked out. But I think in the end, having a deal that’s fair
and offers fair and open trade would be a good thing for the United
States and for our trading partners.

Critics of the deal argue they have been burned by double-dealing by
politicians in the past.

As a candidate for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama harshly
criticized NAFTA on the campaign trail, claiming he would move to
renegotiate the pact as president. Yet, reporters later uncovered
evidence that Obama’s aides had met privately with Canadian officials to
tell them that Obama’s rhetoric was “more reflective of political
maneuvering than policy.”

(8) Larry Summers for TPP

http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/StreetTalk/larry-summers-trade-deal-world/2015/06/15/id/650635/

Larry Summers to CNBC: Trade Deal defeat would make world 'More Dangerous'

By FJ McGuire

Monday, 15 Jun 2015 05:27 PM

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned that failure to move
forward in Congress on a 12-nation trade deal spearheaded by the United
States will raise questions about American leadership and hurt the
country's geopolitical standing.

"It will be a more dangerous world if the United States shows itself
again unable to participate in international organizations in a full way
and unwilling to support global trade agreements that it initiated," the
former economic adviser to President Barack Obama told CNBC. Special: Al
Gore Attacks Scientist for Exposing Global Warming Lie

Amid opposition from Democrats, the House failed to pass a bill that
would have cleared the way for Obama to negotiate a sweeping trade deal
with Pacific countries.

House Democrats were instrumental in defeating the measure, known as
Trade Adjustment Assistance, which provides aid to U.S. workers who lose
their jobs as a result of foreign trade.

While Democrats support the program, they oppose major parts of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which faces opposition from labor unions.

"If we want to be relied upon, if we want people to be interested in our
initiatives, if we want to remain a substantial and trusted presence in
Asia, a negotiation that we launched three years ago and that we've
driven has to be a negotiation that the United States can carry through
on," he said.

"If the United States is not able to carry through, that will raise
questions about the capacity for presidential leadership both for the
remainder of this presidential term and going forward," he said. "No
other country in the world wants to be in the position of negotiating
first with the president, and then with a Congress whose behavior can't
be predicted."

Summers has warned that “the repudiation of the TPP would neuter the
U.S. presidency for the next 19 months.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and his legislative allies scrambled
Monday to try to revive his severely wounded trade agenda, although
Democrats and Republicans alike said all options have serious hurdles,
the Associated Press reported.

Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California told reporters "there are
many different options" to revive the trade package the House derailed
last week. Special: US Intelligence Adviser Issues Stark Warning on
Economy (Read Report)

He said a new vote could come as early as this week, but Republican
leaders first must survey the political and legislative landscapes.

(9) Boehner, House Republicans working to Resurrect Trade Bill

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/boehner-house-republicans-trade-agenda/2015/06/15/id/650665/

By Greg Richter | Monday, 15 Jun 2015 10:39 PM

House Republicans are working to revive the trade bill squashed last
week by Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, The New York
Times reports. [...]

One reason for the hurry is the upcoming presidential election season,
during which is it difficult to pass legislation.

"It would be very difficult to do that," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New
Hampshire Democrat, told the Journal. "If we are going to open markets,
it’s very important for us to support those workers who might get
displaced as part of that."

(10) Hillary dodges Bernie Sanders' questions about where she stands on TPP

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/14/bernie-sanders-presses-clinton-to-take-a-stand-on-trade-deal.html

Clinton talks trade deal, but dodges Bernie Sanders on where she stands

'If she joins us, we could stop this disastrous deal once and for all,'
said Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

June 14, 2015 3:52PM ET

Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist U.S. senator challenging for
the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, urged the race’s presumed
frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Sunday to take a stand on the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — the controversial 12-country trade
deal that has divided the Democratic Party.

Sanders, a vocal critic of free trade, called on Clinton to join labor
unions, environmentalists and other opponents of the trade package
before legislation intended to "fast-track" TPP is brought up for
another vote this week.

Clinton aides appearing on Sunday television news shows said she would
not weigh in until negotiations were complete. But in a subsequent stump
speech in Iowa, the candidate herself made comment on the TPP, if only
to urge Obama to work with House Democrats who are skeptical over the
deal and to voice concern over “objectionable parts” of the proposed
agreement.

The remarks are unlikely to have satisfied Sanders, who has used the
issue to drive a wedge between the policies of both candidates, and to
undermine Clinton’s claims of a progressive agenda.

"Corporate America and Wall Street are going to bring that bill back,"
Sanders told CBS's "Face the Nation." "If she joins us, we could stop
this disastrous deal once and for all."

Democrats in Congress dealt a blow to President Barack Obama on Friday
when they stymied an attempt to pass "fast-track" legislation that would
have allowed TPP to be passed without amendments in a straight
up-or-down vote.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton said Obama should work with
opponents like House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who helped engineer
Friday’s defeat.

"I am willing to try now to see whether you can push to get rid of the
objectionable parts, to drive a harder bargain on some of the other
parts," Clinton said.

If Obama does not get the best deal possible, "there should be no deal,"
said Clinton.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is shaping up to be a significant test for
Clinton as her party has grown more suspicious of the merits of free
trade since her husband, Bill Clinton, signed the North American Free
Trade Agreement into law as president in 1993.

Clinton has expressed reservations about free trade deals in the past,
but she played a central role in trade talks with the 11 countries
involved in the TPP as Obama's Secretary of State, a post she stepped
down from in 2013.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said she would render a judgment
when the deal is final.

"She has a clear standard that it's got to be good for American workers
or she thinks the United States should walk away from it," he said on
NBC's "Meet the Press."

--
Peter Myers
Australia
website: http://mailstar.net/index.html