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Obama Steams Ahead With TPP

As the clock ticks down on President Barack Obama’s time in the top spot, his administration is pressing ahead to ensure his legacy trade deal is realized.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Friday sent Congress a 36-page draft document of a “statement of administrative action” that outlined how the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, signed in New Zealand on Feb. 4, would be implemented and enforced.

Despite Democratic opposition from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and others, Friday’s move signaled President Obama won’t give up on TPP and wants to get it passed before the end of the year.

“We are part of a global economy. We’re not reversing that,” Obama said at a press conference earlier this month. “Most manufactured products now involve a global supply chain where parts are made in all corners of the globe, and converge and then get assembled and packaged and sold. And so the notion that we’re going to pull that up root and branch is unrealistic.”

He added, “There’s a real problem, but the answer is not cutting off globalization. The answer is, how do we make sure that globalization, technology, automation—those things work for us, not against us. And TPP is designed to do precisely that.”

The White House’s statement describes the “pertinent provisions of the implementing bill,” explaining how it will change or affect existing law and why such actions are “strictly necessary or appropriate.”

“I am disappointed by the president’s decision to continue pushing forward on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that will cost American jobs, harm the environment, increase the cost of prescription drugs and threaten our ability to protect public health,” Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said in a statement Friday. “In my view, it is now time for the leadership of the Democratic Party in the Senate and the House to join Secretary Clinton and go on the record in opposition to holding a vote on this job-killing trade deal during the lame-duck session of Congress and beyond.”

Now that the draft statement has been sent to Capitol Hill, a final version can follow 30 days after the submission date.