Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) went to the Senate floor to push for immediate consideration of a bill that would make the Obamatrade text public — right now Congress has to go to a secured room to review the text and can’t take notes out or discuss what is in it with the public. That motion failed when Sen. Orrin Hatch objected, since it required unanimous consent.
The two Democrats even praised President George W. Bush, who released his free trade text in 2001. Today, President Obama, who promised to have the most transparent administration in history, is not releasing his deal.
“We’re just asking for some transparency before we have this crucial vote,” said Warren.
She said people have heard a lot about the trade bill, but haven’t seen it. The press hasn’t seen it, neither have economists or legal experts because the Administration making it impossible any of those people to read it.
“We should keep the deal secret because if the details were made public now, the public would oppose it,” mocked Warren. “Well, that’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.
Warren went on to introduce her legislation with Manchin in order to make the bill public and transparent.
“This bill would require the president to publically release the scrubbed bracketed text of a trade deal at least 60 days before Congress votes on any fast-track for that deal. That would give the public, the experts, the press an opportunity to review the deal. It would allow for some honest pubic debate,” Warren said.
However, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) objected to Warren’s push to make the deal transparent.
“One concern I’ve heard from the opponents of trade promotion authority is the trade agreements currently under discussion have been negotiated behind closed doors. That would be renewing T.P.A. Congress would be enabling, even encouraging further secrecy,” Hatch argued.
Ironically, Hatch also admits he doesn’t know what is in the TPP deal, while at the same time he objects to the push for more transparency prior to any crucial votes.
“I don’t know fully what’s in T.P.P. myself, and I am going to be one of the most interested people on earth when that comes, if not the most interested, you know, when they finally agree. But there is — it’s still not a completed agreement, as far as I know,” admitted Hatch.
“Secrecy is no good,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) responded, backing Warren and Manchin.