In a challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden said that the next administration must push for Senate approval of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty to make sure the United States keeps access to Asian markets.
Biden, presenting recommendations for the next administration in a bylined article in Foreign Affairs, said that President Obama's successor must build on treaties and initiatives pushed over the past eight years. The magazine sent out a "pre-release" of his article printed in the upcoming editon.
TPP is extremely controversial. Clinton has come out in opposition to the trade deal. Donald Trump is also against it, as are several progressive groups now pressing Clinton, if elected president, to promise to fight Obama during a lame duck congressional session to debate the treaty.
Obama signaled Friday that the legislation to get TPP going is coming soon.
Biden, who sees little chance of a Trump victory in November, didn't mention Clinton in his Foreign Affairs piece, instead issuing his challenge to the next administration.
Clinton is expected to build on virtually all of Obama's programs and initiatives here and overseas, but not TPP. That prompted Biden to argue for a change and support for TPP.
"Because Asia is home to half the world's population and many of the world's fastest-growing markets, we simply cannot afford to ignore the economic opportunities there. That's why securing the Trans-Pacific Partnership remains a top priority for our administration. The 12 economies of the TPP account for 30 percent of global trade, 40 percent of global GDP, and 50 percent of projected global economic growth. Thanks to U.S. leadership, the deal includes provisions that will raise international standards for the protection of workers' rights, the environment, and intellectual property. Absent these rules, the region will likely witness a race to the bottom in the form of weak, low-standard regional trade agreements that exclude the United States. This deal is as much about geopolitics as economics: when it comes to trade, maritime security in the South China Sea, or nuclear nonproliferation in Northeast Asia, the United States has to take the lead in writing and enforcing the rules of the road, or else we will leave a vacuum that our competitors will surely rush to fill."
TPP critic Sen. Bernie Sanders signaled Friday that he to is going to keep the heat on to junk the treaty. After the White House signaled its intent to push the deal, he issued the following statement:
"In my view, it is now time for the leadership of the Democratic Party in the Senate and the House to join Secretary Clinton and go on the record in opposition to holding a vote on this job-killing trade deal during the lame-duck session of Congress and beyond.
"We need to defeat this treaty and fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to create good-paying jobs in this country and throughout the world and end the race to the bottom. I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that the TPP does not get implemented."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com