During a speech endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called for Democrats to prevent a congressional vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the November election, the period when farm groups believe the trade pact has its best chance of passage. “We have to be sure that TPP does not get to the floor of Congress during the lame-duck session,” said Sanders at the Democratic National Convention.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, opposes TPP and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, her choice for vice president, says he cannot support the free-trade agreement in its current form, said the Washington Post. As recently as last week, Kaine said there were some beneficial aspects to it. A Clinton aide told the Post over the weekend that Kaine “agreed with her judgment that it fell short” in protecting American wages and national security.
Farm groups generally support the 12-nation TPP as a way to expand ag exports, most notably to Japan. TPP covers 40 percent of the global economy and, under its ratification rules, cannot take effect unless Japan and the United States approve it. Because Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump oppose TPP, proponents are pressing for a post-election vote, when campaign emotions have quieted and the Obama administration, which negotiated TPP, could help rally votes in Congress before a new administration with an opposing view takes office in January.
Kaine’s record “suggests a mixed bag for farmers and ranchers,” said DTN. He voted for the 2014 farm law and supports conservation programs. In May, he voted to repeal the catfish inspection program operated by USDA.