Six Members of Congress Withdraw Support for TPP - The Kicker? They're Republicans

The Democratic Party refused to put in a plank in its platform opposing the TPP, a free trade agreement President Obama is desperate to pass this year. Bernie Sanders and (technically) Hillary Clinton both oppose it. Nonetheless, Obama's been pushing hard for its passage today at a press conferences with the President of Singapore.

Now in a surprise move (or perhaps not that surprising, all things considered) six members of the House of Representatives have withdrawn support for passage of the TPP this year, before the election or in a Lame Duck session of Congress. None of them are members of the President's party. They are all Republicans.

President Obama's renewed pitch for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Tuesday ran into blunt reality when six House Republicans urged him not to send the trade accord to Congress for a vote this year.

The request, made in a letter to the White House, represents another potentially serious blow to the president's trade agenda, whose prospects have dimmed in an election year. All six GOP members had supported legislation last year to give Obama greater trade authority, and their defections would make TPP ratification even more difficult.

The six Republicans House members, all of whom are retiring or face re-election this year, are Rep. Candice Miller (MI), Dave Trott (MI), Bill Shuster (KY), Ed Whitfield (KY) , Tim Murphy (PA),and Ted Yoho (FL). All six supported the President last year by voting for legislation granting him Fast Track Authority to negotiate the TPP and other trade agreements. The basis of their objection at this time to passage of the TPP is that the agreement, as written, does not include anti-currency manipulation provisions.

“I represent Southeast Michigan, a region that has suffered decades of economic devastation due to unfair currency manipulation practices from overseas competitors like Japan, China, and South Korea. During my tenure, I have advocated for strong protections against currency manipulation. ... If this Administration was serious about protecting U.S. manufacturing, then it would have insisted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership have strong currency manipulation protections, which it doesn’t. That’s why I, along with several of my colleagues in the House, am urging President Obama to not force Congress to vote on the trade deal during the upcoming lame duck session. A deal of such magnitude and consequence should be debated and approved by the new Administration and Congress, not outgoing members such as myself." Americans deserve an opportunity to hold our President and their elected representatives in Congress accountable, and forcing this bad deal through a lame duck would deny them that opportunity.” – Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10)

“The TPP trade agreement does not contain the currency manipulation rules needed to protect Michigan families and our manufacturing industry. Like many Americans, I am not convinced that, in its current form, the TPP will do enough to protect Michigan workers and grow our state’s economy. While I believe trade is critical for Michigan jobs, I urge President Obama not to pursue a vote on the TPP during a lame-duck session of Congress. Any attempt to do so will only further erode the American people’s confidence in their government. The president should respect the voters’ choice of a new Chief Executive and allow his successor to work with Congress to negotiate a stronger agreement that puts Michigan workers and businesses first.” –Rep. Dave Trott (MI-11)

Frankly, I don't give a damn as to why these six Republicans suddenly reversed course and now oppose passage of the TPP in a Lame Duck session of Congress. But their "change of heart" is evidence to me that even Republicans witnessed the overwhelming support Bernie Sanders campaign garnered by opposing passage of free trade agreements such as the TPP, that benefit transnational corporations at the expense of small business owners and American workers. People power exists, and this is one example of it. They are now well aware that the mood of many past traditional Democratic and Republican voters is firmly against any further free trade deals that move American jobs overseas and hurt local manufacturers.

For that reason, we all must continue to pressure the "Clinton Wing" of the Democratic Party, and Republicans, as well, in order to force any vote on the TPP into next year, when a new Congress will be in session, and a new President, whether Trump pr Clinton, both of whom are publicly campaigning on their opposition to the TPP (even if they are both likely lying). We must make it known to all candidates running for Congress, regardless of party affiliation, that they will not receive our votes if they support further corporate friendly trade agreements that harm the vast majority of Americans. We must show up at their rallies with our anti-TPP signs and our anti-TPP chants.

Hillary cheated her way to the Democratic nomination, but that does not mean we cannot limit her power should she be elected as our next President. And I believe this is one fight we can win now and going forward, regardless of who becomes President, if we continue our activism and hold politicians accountable to the will of the majority of Americans.

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rhetoric. NAFTA is still hurting workers and TPP has the potential to be as bad or worse.

I don't for a minute believe Republicans are pro-worker any more than I believe Clinton is pro-worker, but this shows an opening for Trump to win states usually considered blue.

To call TPP a trade deal, like the media and politicians do, rankles since only two sections deal with tariffs and opening markets. The USA has bilateral trade pacts with several in the TPP orbit. TPP is about Obama ceding ever more power to corporations where they have no business having poser.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

detroitmechworks's picture

Might stem from them not getting their cut.

Seems to be the only way that we ever get anti-corporate opposition these days.

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13 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

boriscleto's picture

With them trying to get reelected. Richard Hanna is retiring, so he endorsed Hillary...

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

I heard the press conference in real time and am waiting for a transcript to come out.

The President had a very Father Knows Best sort of dismissive attitude about the opposition. The Singapore Prime Minister threw out an ominous warning that if we didn't pass it we would suffer some kind of diplomatic consequence, i.e. no one could rely on the assurances of people selling us down the river ever again. He also said something about it would be up to us to look out for and correct the consequences to our own workers, or something along that line.

Obama did not address the major objection that has rallied most of the anti-trade pact crowd, the ISDS system of global corporate tribunals that usurp national sovereignty and the power to legislate and regulate within our own borders. Right now we are being sued by Canada under NAFTA for not allowing the Keystone pipeline.

I hope the transcript comes out and you will incorporate it into this diary or write a new one when it does, dissecting it.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

What are they going to do? I wonder if the TPP helps to facilitate Singapore's status as a tax haven.

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Why not just give a party and a nudge and a contribution and a promise of future employment? Corporations are experts at buying votes. But, ....

Trouble for the TPP: Business groups’ desperate PR campaign signals possible failure for trade deal The fact that business groups are spending millions to influence pols to pass TPP shows the pact is in jeopardy

This is great news. At a NN16 panel, they didn't think that there were the necessary votes and without the votes Obama won't send it to congress.

Here’s one of the best indicators that Congress won’t approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership: business groups are running a public campaign in support of it. I know that sounds like a paradox, but if the image of the TPP weren’t so tattered, there would be no need for such an overt PR campaign

This shouldn’t be such a hard sell. The groups represent the leading fundraisers for many members of Congress. The strategy to pass the TPP in the lame duck, at the furthest possible point from any local accountability for the vote, should appeal to politicians. So why would you need a public advocacy campaign?

The answer is that the trade consensus is deader than it has been in the past twenty years. All the energy on this issue is with those who blame bad trade deals for the demise of U.S. manufacturing, the rise of multinational corporate influence, and the loss of good-paying American jobs. That’s from the right, where Donald Trump has made trade a cornerstone of his campaign, and from the left, where Bernie Sanders and his supporters forced trade to the top of the issue agenda.

No issue galvanized dissent at the Democratic National Convention like TPP. And supporters of the trade deal had to watch in vain as it racked up loss after loss throughout the week.

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speare's picture

They know how unpopular it is.

And yet these Third Way Dems seem determined not to understand why people hate it so much. The economy is ALWAYS the most important issue, and these bozos are making it EASY for Trump right now.

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is the most important issue to them.

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featheredsprite's picture

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5 users have voted.

Life is strong. I'm weak, but Life is strong.

good. the more the merrier

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during the lame duck session. So any defections matter.

Scuttling the TPP in the lame-duck session will be significant, but if Clinton wins, this will continue to be a fight into the next Congress. Clinton's intentions are obvious: she will tweak parts of the trade deal and then call it something else.

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orlbucfan's picture

Man, Fate makes strange bedfellows. Yoho aka idiot yahoo is suddenly against the TPP? I'm surprised he knows what it means. He's that big of a stupid joke down here among FL educated voters/political junkies. Very good news. Rec'd!!

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" Our solutions to the climate crisis must match the demands of physics."
c/o truthout