Sanders Centers Platform Fight On Trans-Pacific Trade Deal – ARNIE SEIPEL July 3, 2016 12:50 PM ET


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., delivers a speech titled "Where We Go From Here" on June 24 in Albany, N.Y.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., delivers a speech titled “Where We Go From Here” on June 24 in Albany, N.Y. — Mike Groll/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders went out of his way Sunday to find praise for the Democratic party’s platform drafting committee, but there is one major sticking point: The Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Sanders wants the final platform to unequivocally oppose the free-trade deal that was negotiated by the Obama administration, saying it “threatens our democracy” in an op-ed published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday.

The runner-up in the Democratic primary contest did refer to the draft platform, which was released on Friday, as “an excellent start” for its provisions calling for a 21st-century Glass-Steagall Act, expanding Social Security, closing loopholes in the corporate tax code, infrastructure investment, ending the death penalty and eliminating superPACs.

Sanders called for stronger language on enacting a national minimum wage at $15 per hour. The draft platform states, “We believe that Americans should earn at least $15 an hour,” but it does not explicitly call for legislation to that end.

Sanders’ strongest condemnation was reserved for how the party proposes handling TPP. Here’s what the draft platform says about it:

On the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), there are a diversity of views in the party. Many Democrats are on record stating that the agreement does not meet the standards set out in this platform; other Democrats have expressed support for the agreement. But all Democrats believe that any trade agreement must protect workers and the environment and not undermine access to critically-needed prescription drugs.

It’s an issue that has divided the White House from many Democrats. Hillary Clinton helped promote the deal as it was being drafted when she was Secretary of State. But Clinton came out in opposition to it last October, just before the first Democratic primary debate.

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