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DCCC chairman: Obama should not rush TPP in Singapore

DCCC chairman: Obama should not rush TPP in Singapore

12/5/13 12:23 PM EST
The head of the House Democrats’ campaign arm says he is “very concerned” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that President Barack Obama’s administration is working to finalize this month.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said Congress knows too little about the 12-country pan-Pacific deal and needs a stronger oversight role in its negotiation and enforcement.

“The only way you’re going to get free and fair trade is if Congress is able to assert oversight and review a trade agreement,” the New York congressman said on a conference call hosted by the Sierra Club. “There’s got to be checks and balances, and I’m very concerned that TPP does not currently include those checks and balances.”

The Obama administration should not rush to finalize a deal during talks that kick off in Singapore this weekend, even though a conclusion there is likely the administration’s only chance to meet Obama’s goal of concluding the pact this year, Israel said.

“A good deal is more important than a final deal, and the only deal that I can support is one that has verifiable standards that Congress can oversee and monitor,” he said.

Further, Israel said that when Congress considers a bill to allow Obama to “fast-track” trade deals for up-or-down votes, with limited debate and no amendments, that measure should provide “a robust role for Congress on the front end of an agreement.”

“20th Century ‘fast-track’ just does not work for a 21st Century agreement,” Israel said.

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