If TPP is Progressive, Why Must White House Rely on "Republican Friendly Organizations" to Sell It?

Washington, DC – Democratic backers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal like to claim that the TPP is “the most progressive trade agreement in history.”

If that’s the case, then why must the White House rely on “Republican friendly organizations” and some of the biggest opponents of progressive policies to get the deal through Congress?

As Politico’s Adam Behsudi highlights:

“The White House will be relying on ‘Republican friendly organizations’ to make the case for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Congress, the administration's chief spokesman said today.

‘The good news is that it's not just going to be a Democratic president trying to appeal to Republicans in Congress to support this agreement,’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a press briefing.

He named the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Association of Manufacturers among the groups that will be looked upon ‘to make a strong case to the Republicans.’

Many of those groups have expressed support for the deal but conditioned their endorsement on how the administration addresses certain areas of the agreement they view as problematic, such as its provisions on pharmaceuticals, financial services and tobacco.”

According to Shane Larson, Legislative Director at the Communications Workers of America (CWA), “It’s ironic that even the Administration now admits that passage of TPP relies on the support and work of some of the most vehement opponents of real progressive policies. The lack of support from Democrats and the progressive movement clearly demonstrates the emptiness of claims that the TPP is a ‘progressive’ trade agreement. With support for the TPP deteriorating since its public release from even proponents of the Fast-Track TPA, it seems that that USTR Michael Froman will look for  support wherever he can find it. In this case, that means support from the organizations most committed to attacking progressive policies and bankrolling right-wing politicians. The fact is that the TPP would set back rather than advance core progressive issues and values.”

CONTACT: Candice Johnson at cjohnson@cwa-union.org and 202-434-1168