Thursday, October 08, 2015

First she was for, now against: Hillary flip flops on Trans Pacific Partnership

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has flip flopped on her support of the Trans Pacific Partnership. As Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, Clinton played a crucial role in negotiating the controversial trade deal.

As late as Wednesday of this week, Clinton aides were still touting Hillary's support of the TPP.

NPR reporter: "Need to ask you a – it may sound a little impertinent question but it has come up on this program before – and much as I respect Hillary Clinton, it seems to be asked over and over and over again so I’d like to ask you. She was a wonderful boss and you give real tribute to her, give real props to her in working for her, but it’s often said that as Secretary of State she, the all the travel she did she accomplished nothing could put up on a marquee. There was supposed to be a new start with Russia, there were all kinds of things were in the works and here we are. I mean,  what can she really advertise from her work as Secretary of State? And I say this also because we have Neil Ferguson on tomorrow talking about his book on Kissinger."

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former director of policy planning at the State Department: "On Kissinger! I’m happy to answer that question. I mean the first place there are, you know, she laid the groundwork for a lot of what now, frankly, John Kerry is harvesting. I mean without Hillary Clinton putting together this, the coalition to impose sanctions on Iran, you wouldn’t have an Iran deal. So she did that work and it was incredibly hard work. She also was one of the architects of you know, the turn to Asia. And just yesterday, people may not like the trade agreement with Asia, but her point was we have to focus on re-strengthening our alliances with Japan, with the Philippines, with Thailand, with Southeast Asian countries. And we have to engage China, but we also have to tough with China and that was a lot of Hillary Clinton’s work."

On Thursday, Hillary released a statement saying that she opposes the trade deal.

"I’m continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, including looking hard at what’s in there to crack down on currency manipulation, which kills American jobs, and to make sure we’re not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers. But based on what I know so far, I can’t support this agreement.

“As I have said many times, we need to be sure that new trade deals meet clear tests: They have to create good American jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security. The bar has to be set very high for two reasons.

“First, too often over the years we haven’t gotten the balance right on trade. We’ve seen that even a strong deal can fall short on delivering the promised benefits. So I don’t believe we can afford to keep giving new agreements the benefit of the doubt. The risks are too high that, despite our best efforts, they will end up doing more harm than good for hard-working American families whose paychecks have barely budged in years.

“Second, we can’t look at this in a vacuum. Years of Republican obstruction at home have weakened U.S. competitiveness and made it harder for Americans who lose jobs and pay because of trade to get back on their feet. Republicans have blocked the investments that we need and that President Obama has proposed in infrastructure, education, clean energy, and innovation. They’ve refused to raise the minimum wage or defend workers’ rights or adequately fund job training.

“As a result, America is less competitive than we should be. Workers have fewer protections, the potential positive effects of trade are diminished, and the negative effects are exacerbated. We’re going into this with one arm tied behind our backs.

“I still believe in the goal of a strong and fair trade agreement in the Pacific as part of a broader strategy both at home and abroad, just as I did when I was Secretary of State. I appreciate the hard work that President Obama and his team put into this process and recognize the strides they made. But the bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don't believe this agreement has met it," Clinton said.

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