What Hillary Clinton REALLY said about TPP and Fast Track

The media has been reporting that it's the Democrats who have been split on the issues of trade (TPP, TPA and TAA). But it appears the Republicans have also been just as split on these issues.

According to the website Liberty News, the following is a list 2016 GOP presidential candidates and their views on what they have affectionately nicknamed ObamaTrade:

Scott Walker (Tentatively supports TPP)
Rick Santorum (Supports TPP and Fast Track, but wants it passed under next President)
Marco Rubio (Voted for TPP in Senate)
Rick Perry (Supports TPP)
Mike Pence (Supports TPP)
Ted Cruz (Voted for TPP in Senate)
Jeb Bush (Huge advocate for TPP)
Rand Paul (Opposes and Voted Against TPP)
John Kasich (Says supports free trade but refuses to endorse TPP)
Bobby Jindal (Opposes fast track and hasn’t agreed to support TPP)
Mike Huckabee (Opposes TPP)
Carly Fiorina (Opposes TPP)
Ben Carson (Opposes TPP)

The Breitbart website, who also calls this ObamaTrade, reports that Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) both voted for TPA but have continued to refuse to answer whether they read the TPP text before voting for it. The website also noted the often unmentioned Export-Import Bank, which many believe is just more crony capitalism.

As for all the 2016 Democratic presidential contenders: Senator Bernie Sanders (op-ed and video), Jim Webb (former senator and Assistant Secretary of Defense) and Martin O'Malley (former Governor of Maryland), all oppose TPP and fast track — all except for Hillary Clinton.

But for some reason, some media outlets seem to be subtly implying that Hillary Clinton may be disagreeing with Obama on the TPP trade deal — and that she is against fast-tracking TPP. But really, she just opposes the current bill if it excludes the funding for re-training displaced workers (known as TAA).

At the very least, when she was recently asked about her positions on TPP, Hillary Clinton just waffled and danced around the question on TPP and fast-track again. Every other presidential candidate has made it perfectly clear where they stand on fast-track and TPP — all except for Hillary Clinton, who is either unsure and/or uninformed, or is deliberately hiding her true opinions for fear that voters won't elect her if she told the complete and ungarbled truth.

* Editor's Note: Directly below is a key to the acronyms mentioned in this post on the trade debate:

  • TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) A huge secret trade deal with Asia (like TTIP for Europe and TiSA globally).
  • TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) Fast track authority for presidents to negotiate these horrific trade deals without any Congressional changes.
  • TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) A program to re-train workers who are displaced by bad trade deals when their jobs are offshored.

Here is exactly what Hillary Clinton recently told Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston in a recent TV interview (June 16, 2015) about fast-track (TPA), and her thoughts about the program for re-training displaced workers (TAA) and her position on the Asian trade agreement (TPP) — which is at the very end of the interview:

Jon: Last question and hopefully it’s a simple yes or no, but I’m not that optimistic. If you were in the Senate still, would you vote for TPA when it gets there?

Hillary: At this point, probably not because it’s a process vote and I don’t want to say it’s the same as TPP. Right now I’m focused on making sure we get trade adjustment assistance and I certainly would not vote for it unless I were absolutely confident we would get trade adjustment assistance.

Jon: Almost a yes or no, I’m impressed.

So it appears that, with the current bill going to the Senate for fast-track, if it included assistance for displaced workers (TAA), Hillary Clinton would support the proposed trade deal (TPP) and for giving Obama fast-track (TPA). It's only if TAA isn't also included, that she would be against either fast track and/or the TPP trade agreement (because she doesn't say otherwise).

Below is the compete and unedited text to the part of Hillary's interview pertaining to assistance for displaced workers (TAA), the trade deal (TPP) and fast-track (TPA). And further below is the video:

Jon: "Switching gears, there was a big vote today as you know in the House and TPA was passed again. You have been a big supporter of free trade, both as a Senator and as Secretary of State, but now you seem to be, I know you’re not going to like this word, waffling, maybe not taking a position on it. Is it just because you’re afraid of alienating traditional democratic constituencies? Why won’t you give a full throated endorsement of that as a...

Hillary: Well first, let me set my record straight in the Senate. I voted for trade agreements that I thought were good for America and I voted against them, including the Multinational Central American Free Trade Agreement. I voted against giving President Bush fast track authority. So I try to make a judgment based on the merits and when I was in the Senate there were a number of trade agreements that I thought were good, I said okay I’ll vote for them, and others not.

Jon: What is this? [Meaning the TPP trade deal.]

Hillary: That’s what’s so hard. I don’t know yet. And this is what I’ve been trying to convey. Until we know what’s in the agreement, and yes, when it began to be negotiated I said it holds out the promise to be the gold standard. We’re going to have to do business with some of these big economies like Japans for example, so let’s figure out how we can raise labor standards, health standards, protect the environment, create the best possible trading agreement.

Jon: You said that in the past though. You said TPP will do those things.

Hillary: And let’s hope it does, but my question now is, see, I have not read it. It’s only available to people who go to a certain room in the Capitol Hill Complex and they can’t show it to their aides and they can’t even take notes on it, so all I can judge is what people are coming out and telling me [plugging her book] and even in my book Hard Choices last summer, I said I have real doubt about this so called investor state dispute settlement agreement, which basically means you run a big company, pick a big Asian company of some sort from one of the countries in the agreement and you want to import some kind of food and the local officials, say in Nevada, say, you know what? That doesn’t meet our standards. Or the FDA says it, somebody says it, and so you then say wait a minute, under this trade agreement I should be able to do that, so I demand one of these dispute settlement determinations. Who’s in the room? Maybe I’m an expert on health and running a hygiene program in Nevada. Maybe I’m the person who oversees the big casinos’ health standards. They’ve got lots of people coming, we want to keep them healthy and I say, no, I want to be heard because we found problems in that company’s food and you’re told now, this is just between the company and the local government. Well that makes no sense to me. It should be an open process and I have said that. I’ve said that for months now. So here’s what I…I was willing to wait until I could see what’s in it before I took a decision, like I did when I was a senator.

Jon: But you said some very positive things about it many, many times in the past. You know that.

Hillary: No Joe, I said positive things about the process and the potential. Look, if we could get the right kind of agreement that was good for workers, good for wages, good for the environment, labor, safety, health, and good for our national security, that would be great for America. Some people don’t like any trade agreement and some people are willing to take any trade agreement and those two sides of the debate are not who I’m listening to. I’m trying to figure out what can we do to get the best possible agreement and that’s why, on Friday, when the House Democrats stopped the process I said, you know, the President and his negotiators should listen, not to the pro and the no, but to the people who say let’s fix this dispute supplement. Let’s do more to enforce decent labor standards so our workers are not at a disadvantage.

Jon: You seem to think the President has mishandled this.

Hillary: No, I think the President has a hard hand to play and he’s done was well as he could given the demands from these other countries, but I also know, because I’ve been part of seeing trade agreements opened up after fast track, okay, so that you get to a point where you say, okay, we’d like to pass it but only if you make these changes. Then the other countries, which also have a big stake in it, they come around. When I was Secretary of State, the Bush administration negotiated a free trade agreement with Korea. So when President Obama comes in and I come in, we’re presented with this free trade agreement and we say, it’s not strong enough on getting cars for example, American made cars, into that market. We worked with the UAW, we worked with car manufacturers here and we said we can’t go forward with it unless changes. That is the kind of negotiation I am proposing. I’m well aware this is hard work and when you’ve got all these other countries around the table and they’re saying we can’t do this and we can’t do that, of course you’re fighting to try to get the best and what I do believe the President is think is, okay, if I get trade promotion authority, used to be known as fast track, then I can go and I can say to all these other countries, okay, the deal I make can be enforced but I can’t make the deal unless you make these changes.

Jon: Last question and hopefully it’s a simple yes or no, but I’m not that optimistic. If you were in the Senate still, would you vote for TPA when it gets there?

Hillary: At this point, probably not because it’s a process vote and I don’t want to say it’s the same as TPP. Right now I’m focused on making sure we get trade adjustment assistance and I certainly would not vote for it unless I were absolutely confident we would get trade adjustment assistance.

Jon: Almost a yes or no, I’m impressed.

Hillary: Well these are complicated issues Joe.

Jon: I agree, I just wanted to...

Hillary: I appreciate your asking about it and giving me a chance to talk about some of the complexity around it.

[Then the subject abruptly changes.]

The text to the complete interview is here — and below is a 6 minute video of the interview in her own words at YouTube (copied from the full interview here). Of course, because the Clintons are so apt with political doublespeak (a language they've both mastered over the years), it's somewhat understandable that even the most proficient journalist could be a bit confused in their reporting. 

Also, here's another video at YouTube of Hillary Clinton just two days before that interview, explaining how Obama should get fast track. She clearly seems to support both the TPP trade deal and fast-track, and is only taking a stand on assistance for displaced workers — which, at best, is only a mediocre program that does very little for millions of workers who lose jobs to foreign low-wage countries.

As an aside, from the Economic Policy Institute: Former U.S. Labor Secretaries F. Ray Marshall and Robert Reich called on Congress to reject fast track and the TPP trade deal because that deal will harm America’s working people. Despite this, the House approved a truncated version of Fast Track (TPA) that excludes funding for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for displaced workers. But passing TPA without TAA is a risky gamble because many Democrats have demanded that the two move simultaneously.



Senate gives Obama fast track -- Corporations win again.

Obama can "fast-track" the trade pacts he negotiates through Congress, preventing filibusters or amendments.


Were there any citizen groups, labor unions, letters to the editor, personal blogs or petitions pushing FOR fast-track or the TPP trade agreement?

There were hundreds AGAINST it.

So essentially, the majority in Congress have voted (again) AGAINST the will of the American people — and in favor FOR major U.S. multi-national corporations.

$$$ in politics is destroying democracy this country, and destroying the livelihoods of American workers.


Corruption has destroyed America. All we have today are feudal lords called multinational corporations and government isn't even the king, more the court jester bowed to their every whim and desire.

Congress votes against the will of the people

U.S. polling shows strong opposition to fast tracking trade deals (from Independents to Republicans and Democrats alike). But yet, Congress still votes against the will of the American people. Over half the people in Congress must be just plain evil; and President Obama (if not evil himself) must be gullible for believing his manipulative advisors.


The 13 Faces of Corruption in the U.S. Senate

A photo you can paste on your Facebook Wall...


TAA passes in the House

The trade adjustment assistance program [TAA] was approved overwhelmingly in the House (286 yeas to 138 nays)

  • It funds $2.7 billion for worker re-training and education ( through June 2022).
  • It makes workers in the service industry eligible for a program that was once only used for displaced manufacturing workers.
  • It extends and expands a tax credit for the purchase of health insurance for displaced workers.
  • It includes subsidies for the wages of workers age 50 or older who are forced to take lower-paid jobs than the ones they lost to low-wage countries — that the Times calls "international competition".
  • It also includes a trade measure with Africa.
  • It also ensures that Obama can complete other major trade deals with Asia and Europe [TPP and TTIP].

Representative Stephen Lynch (D-Massachusetts) said: “I would rather have my representative fighting for my job than coming up with a public assistance program after I lost my job.” 

Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said fast track is already the law of the land: "The question for us today is whether we are going to include the last parts of the package.” The 13 Democratic Senators who gave Obama fast-track claimed it was only on the promise that "the last parts of the package" (TAA) would later be added.

no NYT links plz

NYT is spyware ridden, login requiring tracking cookie nasty so please do not use or link to any of their stuff. It breaks our site.

On TAA absolute bullshit. It has been used to "retrain" college educated highly skilled tech workers to flip burgers. I am not making this up, absolute waste of money as corporations displace U.S. workers with foreign ones to the point people have to train their replacement before being fired in order to get any severance. They are fuking U.S. workers financially FOR LIFE denying them their middle class, higher wage income to be "retrained" as the lowest paid workers in America. Despicable.

I don't know about y'all, but

I don't know about y'all, but I ain't voting for any incumbent democrats who voted in favor of TPA or the TAA that was passed on Thursday. That means I won't be voting for Diane Feinstein, who voted for TPA and TAA in the Senate, or Jackie Speier, who didn't bother voting the first time TPA and TAA went to a vote in the House but voted for TAA this Thursday. I won't vote for Hillary either in 2016. I'm done with the corrupt democratic party (small caps intentional) in California. I won't vote for the democratic party in 2016 unless Speier and Clinton lose their primaries.

Don't get me wrong. I won't vote republican either. Given a choice, I'll vote Green or I'll leave the ballot blank. I am absolutely never going to vote for politicians that disrespect me as a voter and as a citizen and look at me with contempt as these democrats (and republicans) do. These politicians especially democrats believe that Americans are so stupid that American voters will continue to vote for their re-election despite a track record of opposing the interests of the voters that elected them to office. Voting for such politicians will only confirm in their minds that American voters are stupid. I ain't falling victim to this scam. I am not going to re-elect or advance the careers of any politicians that look at me with contempt. They can burn in hell as far as I'm concerned.

Unfortunately, I live in CA so, as usual, this stupid state will likely blindly re-elect Feinstein to the Senate in 2018 and Speier to the House in 2016 just because these two sellouts have a "D" appended to their last names. Elections in CA and in this country are joke courtesy of the corruption of both major parties.

I would also respectfully ask that any faux progressive, who plans on regurgitating the "vote for the lesser of two evils" slogan in 2016 to scaremonger votes for the democratic party, kindly STFU indefinitely. If you support corruption, you're not progressive. After the last seven years of watching the democratic party work against the interests of suffering middle class citizens of this country, it is perfectly clear that voting for the lesser of two evils only begets more evil and economic violence against the vulnerable and disenfranchised workers, middle class, unemployed, and poor of this country. There's absolutely no point in voting for any evil.

In defense of Jackie Speier

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) did not vote for fast track and TPP. She was against both. She may have been ill when she missed the first vote, but had she voted "no", the vote would not have mattered. But she would not have voted "yes".

The voting record on TPP (First Senate and last 2 house votes)

Voting record: The last Senate vote

FYI: Jackie Speier was the aide to Congressman Leo Ryan on November 19, 1978. After visting Jonestown (Guyana) Speier was shot five times when Ryan and four others were ambushed and killed by members of the People's Temple. Jim Jones didn't drink the Kool-Aid. He had a trusted aide shoot him in the head.

Bernie Sanders voted AGAINST TPP

Senator Bernie Sanders is my ONLY choice for POTUS if I have to write him in. No more holding my nose to vote or voting for the lesser of 2 evils. Sanders voted against TPP, against NAFTA, against Iraq War, against the Patriot Act (twice) and he isn't a bought politician, just for starters. He doesn't have a Super PAC, he has fought for veterans, living wage jobs, etc.. and he's hot on Hillary's derriere.
People mistakenly refer to him as a "socialist" "commie" and such, but if they weren't brainwashed by mainstream propaganda, they would see he's been working FOR the people against the 1% for decades. If they really did their homework and comprehend that he is a Democratic Socialist not a National Socialist, they would look closer to what he has done for the past 30-40 years. Hillary and the rest of the bought politicians and war pigs can #FeelTheBern He is drawing huge crowds despite being denied more debates. ALL grassroots, people who are sick of low wage jobs, working but not getting ahead and wanting a better quality of life. Bernie 2016.

Obama REWARDS supporters of TPP