After sitting on the fence on the issue of President Obama’s trade agenda, Hillary Clinton sided with the liberals in her party against the current trade legislation that the White House and Congressional Republicans are pushing.
In an interview with O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa, Clinton said, “Any trade agreement is going to be fraught with all sorts of problems. I’ve voted for them and I’ve voted against them and I voted against Fast Track in the Bush Administration, so I am someone who has seen the pluses and the minuses of trade agreements. Our goals should always be to make as many winners as possible…I think that in today’s world it is a very hard road to manage any trade agreement, especially with so many parties…What I have advised…is that the president take the opportunity offered by staunch allies like Nancy Pelosi…and try to figure out how to use this as leverage, to go back to the other countries and say: ‘You want a lot out of this. I need more. Our market is still the biggest, most consumer friendly in the world, but I can’t go forward unless I get X, Y and Z from you and I think that there is at least a potential opportunity for him to take this moment and as I said kind turn lemons into lemonade…Convince people who are convincible…that you have answered some of the legitimate questions that have been raised.”
Hillary Clinton has taken the position that many liberals in Congress have taken that they can’t support until the administration cuts a better deal for American workers. All of the recent trade agreements that have followed the NAFTA format have been bad for American workers. What liberals are suggesting isn’t that all trade agreements are bad, but that NAFTA-style trade agreements are not acceptable.
Clinton’s position is the same as Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats. The President has to willing to use this agreement to get a better deal both at home and in future trade agreements. Mitch McConnell desperately wants to pass something big to prove that he can govern, but he has tried only to have it his way by being unwilling to give Democrats more. John Boehner has a mess on his hands in the House as Democrats and Republicans both oppose the Obama trade agenda as he has constructed it on the House floor.
Former Sec. Clinton’s comments about the trade agenda make it almost impossible for Democrats to support. Republicans are going to have to sweeten the pot if they want to get this legislation through Congress.
Hillary Clinton can make or break this agenda, and thanks to constant pressure from Bernie Sanders, she has sided with liberals in opposition.