When asked if she would vote for fast-track authority on the TPP trade deal, Hillary Clinton told Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston in a recent TV interview:
"Right now, I'm focused on making sure we get Trade Adjustment Assistance, and I certainly would not vote for it unless I were absolutely confident we would get Trade Adjustment Assistance."
So with a bill (that will soon be voted on in the Senate) that could cut Medicare by $700 million to fund assistance for displaced workers (TAA), it appears Hillary Clinton would vote for fast-track (TPA) and the secret Asian trade bill (TPP).
TPP is a trade bill that would offshore more jobs (because if not, why would we need assistance for displaced workers?) TPP would also let foreign and U.S. corporations sue American taxpayers if we passed laws that somehow infringed on their profits (such as environmental laws). TPP would also drive up the cost of prescription drugs (by expanding patents) and limiting the government's ability to negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients.
So it appears that with assistance for displaced workers, Hillary would support TPP and fast-track. But for some reason, the National Journal heard Hillary say something else:
"She 'probably' would not vote for fast-track if she were still in the Senate."
But that's not at all what she actually said. At the very least, Hillary Clinton just waffled and danced around the question on TPP and fast-track again. Every other presidential candidate has made it perfectly clear where they stand on fast-track and TPP — but Hillary is either unsure or is hiding her true opinion for fear that voters won't elect her.
Today's Senators should have no such confidence. Many of them say "no" outright to the notion that it's a fair deal to Fast Track trade pacts that would offshore the jobs of middle-class workers in exchange for a small amount of assistance for some of those laid off workers. (Know what's better than handing someone some cash after you eliminate their job? Letting them keep their job.) But even those Senators who might be willing to vote yes on Fast Track in exchange for TAA would have to take a huge gamble that TAA would actually become a reality. If they would vote for Fast Track before TAA passes both houses of Congress, Republicans - many of whom deeply oppose TAA - would have little incentive to help Democrats pass TAA. Greg Sargent of The Washington Post explains, "But there’s no way to be certain Republicans will deliver on TAA, because many of them don’t really care about worker assistance and they’d already have achieved the Fast Track they want."