In an interview with American Public Media’s Marketplace, President Obama says fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bill would help him advance his climate change agenda, which he said is “one of my highest priorities.”
During the interview with host Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace, Obama said, “If we want to solve something like climate change, which is one of my highest priorities, then I’ve got to be able to get into places like Malaysia, and say to them, this is in your interest.”
“What leverage do I have to get them to stop deforestation?” he asked. “Well part of the leverage is, if I’m in a trade relationship with them, that allows me to raise standards, now they have to start thinking about how quick they’re chopping down their forests and what kinds of standards they need to apply to environmental conservation.”
“So, we have to engage, not withdraw,” the president stated.
Obama is in a struggle, however, with fellow Democrats who argue the measure will harm U.S. workers and give the upper hand to big business. During the interview, he specifically pointed to the “mistake” his “progressive friends” are making in not supporting fast-tracking the measure.
As the New Republic observes, far-left Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) both said at a recent press conference they’ll oppose the president, and they are gaining greater support for their position.
“Our ranks continue to grow stronger and stronger, and with every week, more and more members are declaring against fast-track,” DeLauro said.
Similarly, Grayson said, “We’re seeing here a tremendous upheaval in public opinion, because the public realizes that it’s time to fight.”
Obama’s focus on how the legislation would help him advance his climate change agenda underscores the tension between him and his fellow liberals who normally support this ideology.