Hillary Clinton’s delegates voted down amendments proposed by Bernie Sanders supporters to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the two-day Democratic platform meeting in Orlando. The proposed amendments would have put the Democratic Party on record for opposing a vote on the TPP during the lame duck session of Congress (when Congress meets after Election Day on November 8, but before the new Congress’ and President’s terms begin in January.)
This appears to be conflicting with the stance of their preferred candidate. Hillary Clinton has stated that she opposes the TPP, and indicated that she doesn’t support a vote on the trade deal during the lame duck session of Congress. Many have questioned her authenticity on that stance, especially because she was an ardent supporter of the deal during her tenure as a Secretary of State. Even TPP lobbyists are confident that Clinton will support the TPP once elected.
Related: The Simple Argument Against the TPP
Despite Clinton’s stance on the trade deal, NBC News reports that the Clinton campaign was whipping members to oppose the language proposed by Sanders loyalists to reject the TPP. This was also corroborated by Zaid Jilani from The Intercept, who reported that the Clinton campaign was actively engaged with platform committee delegates and directing them on votes.
A source at the #DemPlatform meeting told me the Clinton campaign is sending push notifications to appointees' phones on votes.
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) July 9, 2016
The former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, revealed a conversation that he had with a Clinton advisor on his Facebook page. The advisor asserted that Clinton would not oppose President Obama on the TPP. Ironically, the advisor still believes that Clinton would be shielded from any criticism about the TPP because she came out against it.
CLINTON ADVISOR: “Look, it doesn’t matter what you or I think. The President wants the TPP, and the Party isn’t going to oppose him.”
REICH: “You mean Hillary won’t oppose him.”
CLINTON ADVISOR: “Hillary won’t, and Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] won’t, and neither will Nancy [Pelosi] or Harry [Reid] or Dick [Durbin] or Chuck [Schumer].
REICH: “But it’s terrible policy. And it’s awful politics. It gives Trump a battering ram. Obama won’t be president in six months. Why risk it?”
CLINTON ADVISOR: “They don’t see much of a risk. Most Americans don’t know or care about the TPP.”
REICH: “But they know big corporations are running economic policy. They think the whole system is corrupt. Believe me, Trump will use this against Hillary.”
CLINTON ADVISOR: “He can’t. She’s inoculated. She’s come out against the TPP.”
The controversial trade deal was fast-tracked, which means that White House can send trade deals to Congress for up-or-down votes. The Senate will not be able to filibuster them, and lawmakers will not have the power to amend them. The passage of the fast track bill was hardly easy. It narrowly passed the House with a 218-208 vote and the Senate with a 60-38 vote, just enough to avoid a filibuster challenge. Activists and labor unions who are lobbying against the trade deal are hoping to convert just a few to be able to defeat the deal.
Sanders has vowed to take his fight to the convention, with hopes to enact language to the Democratic platform rejecting the TPP. Adding such language to the platform, which is non-binding and mostly symbolic, will not prevent President Obama from signing in the TPP after Election Day if Congress voted on it.