May 5, 2015

Udall comes out against TPP fast track

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U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced tuesday that he opposes a fast track for the approval of a trade deal between the United States and several Pacific Rim nations.

The trade deal is the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership that the United States is negotiating. However, details of the deal have remained secret. Portions of the deal that have leaked have given liberal Democrats ammunition to oppose the deal.

Udall made the announcement that he is breaking with President Barack Obama on the issue in a press release.

“This trade deal appears to benefit corporations above U.S. health and safety standards that keep our families safe,” Udall said in the statement. “It even threatens to preempt U.S. Courts for foreign companies.

“It’s being negotiated behind closed doors, yet I’m being asked to give my approval before Americans can know the details. I cannot support broad presidential authority to fast-track such a wide-ranging deal, which would limit the Senate’s ability to review trade agreements and represent our constituents’ interests.”

In all, the deal would include the United States and 11 Asian nations. China is not included in the deal.

In late April, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich announced his opposition to the fast-track.

“They call that Trade Promotion Authority or TPA, but it’s really just re-branded ‘Fast Track’ legislation designed to allow trade deals to be pushed through Congress with little or no debate,” Heinrich wrote in a Facebook post.

Udall outlined some specific oppositions to the deal and what he sees as negative impacts of trade deals in general.

“Trade deals between nations ripple down and have a direct impact on New Mexico families — affecting wages, labor standards, safety, environmental and health standards and other protections that American workers have fought for over many decades,” Udall said. “So I have deep concerns about fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is not available to the public and threatens these protections for middle-class families as well as privacy rights and the open Internet.

The trade deal is one where liberal Democrats are opposing Obama even while Republicans are largely on-board, a strange dynamic for the Obama administration.

One of the most vocal critics of the deal in the Senate is liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The Democratic Senator has clashed publicly with Obama on the deal.

Others critical of the deal are labor unions, which have been typically important allies for Obama. Unions and other allies have are spending money opposing the deal through ads.

Politico reported that it is possible a vote on the deal could come as early as Memorial Day.

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