Sanders Accepts Challenge to Kill TPP If Elected... Nothing from Clinton So Far

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Sanders Accepts Challenge to Kill TPP If Elected... Nothing from Clinton So Far

Talking trade policy in Ohio, Sanders also picks up key endorsement from Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur

"If elected, I won't send the TPP to Congress and will continue to fight efforts to pass it," said Sanders via Twitter on Friday. "I urge Hillary Clinton to join me." (Photo: Ohio for Sanders)

Accepting a challenge and passing it on ahead of primary voting in Ohio and elsewhere on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed that if elected president he would refuse to present the contoversial TransPacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to Congress and asked his rival Hillary Clinton to join him in that pledge.

"America could have no stronger Democratic leader for jobs in America, for fair trade and for economic progress for all, not just the privileged few, than Bernie Sanders."
—Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)
As he spoke about trade policy and other key issues to a packed indoor stadium in Toledo on Friday night, Sanders told the crowd that if voters turn out in the manner they did recently in Michigan, his campaign will continue to surprise pollsters and the establishment media pundits who have continually downplayed the seriousness of his campaign and its supporters.

Invoking the fight over NAFTA, Sanders told the crowd: "They said it was going to create all kinds of jobs in America. I didn’t believe that for one second. In 1995 I was on the picket lines opposition to that. You don’t need a PhD to understand that a trade agreement written by corporate America was to force American workers to compete against desperately poor people all over the world. American workers should not have to compete against people making pennies an hour."

Sanders continued by saying that "communities here in the Midwest – in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois – have been decimated" by companies offshoring jobs in the wake of NAFTA's passage. Trying to replicate his surprise win in Michigan in the industrial Rust Belt states of Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri—all of which hold primaries on Tuesday—Sanders also released a new ad airing across the region touting his opposition to the kind of trade deals he says his rival Clinton has long embraced:

"Secretary Clinton has said she opposes the job-killing TPP, but if she's serious about her opposition she'll make clear right now that she'll fight any effort to pass the current agreement during a lame duck session of Congress and, if elected, will reject  any attempt to call slight tweaks to this fundamentally flawed trade agreement an improvement." —Neil Sroka, Democracy or AmericaSanders also received the endorsement on Friday of Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kaptur indicated that a key reason for her support was the senator's position on the economy, specifically his career-long opposition to so-called "free trade" deals like NAFTA, pushed through in the 1990's under President Bill Clinton, and his recent leadership in opposing TPP and similar corporate-friendly deals.

"I come here to introduce the next president of the United States," Rep. Kaptur told the capacity crowd in the SeaGate Convention Center to applause. "America could have no stronger Democratic leader for jobs in America, for fair trade and for economic progress for all, not just the privileged few, than Bernie Sanders."

Though Clinton has said she is "not in favor of" what she knows about the TPP, the demand for both candidates to make an outright pledge to kill the deal if elected was made on Friday afternoon by progressive-leaning advocacy groups Democracy for America (DFA) and the Progressive Congressional Change Committee (PCCC) – who did so publicly with a series of tweets:

Just hours later, the Sanders campaign responded:

And subsequently, the campaign made the pledge more explicit by vowing not to present the current agreement to Congress and urged Clinton do the same ahead of Tuesday's primary contests:

The Cinton campaign has yet to tweet or say publicly whether or not she would make such a promise to voters.

Neil Sroka, the communications director for Democracy for America, told Common Dreams via email his organization had yet to hear anything from the campaign as of early Saturday afternoon.

"It's not enough to say you oppose the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership," said Sroka. "We need a Democratic nominee who is committed to fighting the NAFTA-style trade deals that have destroyed too many American communities.  Secretary Clinton has said she opposes the job-killing TPP, but if she's serious about her opposition she'll make clear right now that she'll fight any effort to pass the current agreement during a lame duck session of Congress and, if elected, will reject  any attempt to call slight tweaks to this fundamentally flawed trade agreement an improvement."

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