Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told HuffPost Live on Monday that President Barack Obama is making a “big mistake” in his push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Frank said Obama should leverage the trade deal, now being negotiated with 11 Pacific nations, to pass policies that would reduce income inequality, but are currently opposed by the powerful corporations backing TPP.
“He’s dealing with the people who want to kill every other part of his agenda, and giving them what they most want -- trade -- without getting anything in return,” Frank said. “Let’s do a little trading at home.”
Among the policies that Frank said that Obama could exchange for the trade deal are an increase in the minimum wage, stronger protections for unions, and the end of tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.
In May, Frank published an open letter to Obama on the TPP that included many of the recommendations he shared with HuffPost Live.
Frank is the latest high-profile Democrat to wade into the bitter public feud with Obama over the trade deal. The Senate voted in favor of giving the president “fast-track” authority for trade deals, mostly with Republican votes. Fast-track authority faces a tougher climb in the House.
Frank, who left Congress in 2013 after decades of service, was a top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. As chairman of the committee in 2010, he was a chief architect of the historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill that bears his name.
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