WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says it's long past time for Hillary Clinton to make clear where she stands on a pending trade deal between the U.S. and Pacific nations that has divided wings of the Democratic Party.
"If she’s against this, we need her to speak out. Right now. Right now. I don’t understand how any candidate, Democrat or Republican, is not speaking out on that issue," the presidential contender told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
The deal, known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, is currently under debate in Congress. In what amounts to an unlikely alliance, Republican leaders and the White House are urging members of the House to support legislation granting the president authority to fast-track the deal through Congress. Progressives like Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) oppose the effort over concerns that it would be detrimental to both American and foreign workers.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, has evaded weighing in on the merits of the controversial deal. She maintains she will do so after the deal is fully negotiated and made public. But to opponents of the deal like Sanders, doing so would be too little, too late. If Obama secures fast-track authority in Congress, Sanders argued, the passaged of the deal would be almost guaranteed.
Asked to respond on Thursday, a spokesman for Clinton's campaign referred The Huffington Post to the candidate's comments in New Hampshire last month, where she voiced a number of "real concerns" about the major trade pact.