Kaine comes out against Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

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Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate, has gone on record saying he cannot support the Trans-Pacific Partnership in its current form— a stance calculated to make him more appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders who revile the deal.

Doug Palmer| July 20, 2016 |Politico

Kaine spokeswoman Amy Dudley said Saturday that the Virginia Democrat shared his negative views on the trade deal with Clinton this week, confirming a report by The Washington Post. “He agreed with her judgment that it fell short” when it came to protecting wages and national security, a Clinton aide reportedly told the newspaper.

Kaine had never taken a formal position on the pact, but as recently as Thursday told reporters he saw much in the agreement that he liked, while continuing to express concerns about other provisions, including the handling of investment disputes.

His decision to oppose the agreement deals another blow to President Barack Obama's hopes of winning approval of the deal from Congress this year. It adds to the White House's difficulty of winning approval in the Senate because of weakening Republican support for the pact. However, only 50 votes are needed for TPP approval, in contrast to the 60 votes that were needed to give Obama the “fast track” trade promotion authority to finish the TPP.

Kaine was just one of 13 Senate Democrats who voted last year for fast track authority. The legislation allows the White House to submit trade deals to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote, without any amendments, giving Japan and the 10 other countries involved in the pact some assurance it will be approved.

U.S. business groups were cheered by Clinton's decision to choose the former governor of Virginia, hoping Kaine would help persuade the former secretary of state to reconsider her opposition to the TPP.

"Tim Kaine has first-hand experience and knowledge about the impact of public policy on investment, job creation and competitiveness," Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said in a statement before Kaine's statement opposing the deal. "On that note, we hope Sen. Kaine, who has spoken positively about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, will persuade his running mate that expanded trade will support jobs for millions of Americans.

Before Kaine's statement opposing the deal, supporters of Sanders, a staunch foe of the trade deal, had said they were alarmed by Kaine's selection as a running mate, saying it confirmed their fears that Clinton is secretly a supporter of the pact.

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