Reports are Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia told Hillary Clinton he’d oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership before she selected him as her running mate. But that didn’t work out so well. As recently as Thursday, Kaine was publicly praising TTP.
The Huffington Post reported Friday night that Kaine told Clinton he’d oppose the trade deal between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations.
Clinton helped negotiate the trade deal years ago, but now that she’s running for president she rejects the deal. She claims the TPP did not meet certain standards on wages and national security.
But despite his promise to Clinton, Kaine this week voiced positive remarks that support TTP. “I am having discussions with a lot of groups around Virginia about the treaty itself. I see much in it to like,” Kaine said Thursday during an event in Virginia. “I think it’s an upgrade of labor standards, I think it’s an upgrade of environmental standards. I think it’s an upgrade of intellectual property protections.”
According to Politico: Kaine was one of 13 Senate Democrats who voted to give President Barack Obama powers that would allow him to fast-track the trade deal through Congress. He defended that vote Thursday, saying: “Why would I not give to this president the same tools to negotiate a trade deal that other presidents had?”
His trade message Thursday is one that he had echoed in recent days. During an interview at the Capitol on July 11 — one day before Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chances of a TPP vote this year were “pretty slim” — Kaine said he believed the trade deal should get an up-or-down vote.
“I see much in the TPP draft — which has now been public and apparent to everybody for quite a while — that I like,” Kaine said then. “There’s one piece that I’m still really digging into is the dispute resolution.”
He was referring to the so-called investor state dispute settlement section, or ISDS, in the TPP, an obscure provision that would allow companies to sue governments over decision that harm foreign investments. Liberal stalwart Elizabeth Warren has highlighted the language to great effect to stoke TPP opposition among the left — arguing that the ISDS provision could force U.S. taxpayers to be left with the tab for those settlements.
On Thursday, Kaine stressed that he still had a “lot of concerns” about ISDS. And during the July 11 interview, Kaine also referred to the recent $15 billion claim filed by TransCanada against the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement, seeking to recover the money after the U.S. government denied construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Kaine said that decision “raises a number of questions I’m trying to resolve.”
Still, “I am in engaged in discussions with Virginians who care about this on both sides,” Kaine said then. “Kind of every week or two, somebody’s in my office or I’m with somebody in the state talking about it.”
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