TPP is Dead
Lame Duck Congress Won’t Take it Up
The talk around Washington in the days before Election Day was that the Obama administration was about make a big push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a lame duck session of Congress.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership was one of the centerpieces of President Obama’s foreign policy of pivoting toward Asian allies, in order to shore up relationships in that region and to restrain China.
The presumption, of course, was that Hillary Clinton was about to be elected president of the United States and that the lame-duck session would be the ideal time to get Republicans and the minority of pro-trade Democrats together to ratify TPP.
Many viewed Hillary as pro-TPP—she was, after all, for it before she was against it—but that she would not be able to touch the issue for a couple of years after taking office given her avowed stance during the election campaign.
The election results upended all this reasoning, as well as any chance that the TPP would be ratified by Congress—ever.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat of New York, who is expected to lead Senate Democrats in the next Congress, told the AFL-CIO Executive Council last week that the TPP would not be taken up in the current congressional session. Those remarks conveyed the views of the leadership of the Senate’s Republican majority, according to reporting by the Washington Post.
As for taking up the TPP in the next Congress, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is on the record as saying that will be up to President-elect Donald Trump. And Trump, famously, excoriated the TPP—and all multilateral trade deals for that matter—on the campaign trail.
“There is no way to fix the TPP,” Trump said in June. “We need bilateral trade deals. We do not need to enter into another massive international agreement that ties us up and binds us down.”
In short, despite strong support from the business community, there is no way forward for the TPP. After months of being on life support we can finally say: RIP TPP.
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