President Obama was not shy over the weekend calling out Senator Elizabeth Warren for her disdain for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, saying that she was “absolutely wrong” about any fears she might have about it’s future impact on workers or reducing financial regulatory oversight. In fact, Obama went completely out of his way to make Warren look misinformed, and uneducated about the matter. People have been patiently waiting to hear a response from her, and she did not disappoint.
In an interview with The PLUM LINE, she blasted President Obama about what troubles her most, which, we must point out, Obama did not have any answer for.
If the president is so confident it’s a good deal, he should declassify the text and let people see it. Right now the TPP is classified. Senators can’t even read the text, unless it’s in a classified room, and even then they can’t even take notes out with them. We are prohibited from talking about the details in public. That sure sounds like a secret deal to me.
One of Senator Warren’s concerns is an ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision) that will supposedly allow companies to undermine a nation’s laws by bypassing the courts in favor of an international panel that’s set up in much the same way arbitration is often handled. She even noted that Hillary Clinton voiced a similar concern in a book she wrote over a year ago, in a blog post entitled, “I agree with Hillary Clinton.”
In Mrs. Clinton’s book she writes:
We should avoid some of the provisions sought by business interests, including our own, like giving them or their investors the power to sue foreign governments to weaken their environmental and public health rules, as Philip Morris is already trying to do in Australia. The United States should be advocating a level and fair playing field, not special favors.
Warren then goes on to quote five of the country’s top legal and economic experts — Joseph Stiglitz, Larry Tribe, Judith Resnik, Cruz Reynoso, and H. Lee Sarokin — whom all agree with her:
ISDS weakens the rule of law by removing the procedural protections of the legal system and using a system of adjudication with limited accountability and review. It is antithetical to the fair, public, and effective legal system that all Americans expect and deserve. Proponents of ISDS have failed to explain why our legal system is inadequate to the task. For the reasons cited above, we urge you to uphold the best ideals of our legal system and ensure ISDS is excluded from upcoming trade agreements.
She listed several examples such as:
- A french company sued Egypt after Egypt raised their minimum wage.
- A Swedish company sued Germany because Germany wanted to phase out nuclear power for safety reasons.
- Philip Morris is using ISDS right now to try to stop countries like Australia and Uruguay from implementing new rules that are meant to cut smoking rates — because the new laws might eat into the tobacco giant’s profits.
Mrs. Warren certainly didn’t lay down and let Obama have his way with her. It’s just not in her DNA. It’s definitely not the Elizabeth Warren we have all come to know and love. She fights for what she believes in and she doesn’t just side with the party line, just because it’s the politically correct thing to do — she does it because shes passionately believes in it. Do not mistake her message when she warns about the utter lack of transparency this TPP deal will have:
The Obama administration has said that they have fixed all the problems, and nothing like that will happen here. They just won’t show you how.
It’s difficult to blame Mrs. Warren for wanting transparency. After all, Obama has said that his “administration has been the most transparent in American history.” Its about time they acted like it.
Featured image: via screen capture