In a Twitter question and answer session yesterday President Obama refuted the notion that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being kept hidden from everyday American citizens. This despite being locked away beneath the capital in a secured room, accessible only by congress members who are not allowed to remove notes from the secured room or discuss what they have read.
Grant Kermec: Why won’t you release the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to the American people? [Tweet since deleted]
POTUS: TPP is still being negotiated! But legislation requires the full text for 60 days before I sign. After I sign agreement, Congress will have months of debate before a vote. Nothing secret about it.
As Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said, “He’s indignant when we say it’s secret. Maybe there’s some definition of secrecy he knows that I don’t know.”
Or, to put Obama’s tactic regarding TPP secrecy another way; Who are you going to believe, Obama or your lying eyes?
If the House passes “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority for the Obama Administration it is not clear just how much “debate” will really take place when the full TPP is made available since Congress will only have the option to do an Up-or-Down vote and not add any amendments or remove any provisions individually.
Additionally, there are portions of the TPP which will remain classified for a number of years after the passage of the bill, so this still would qualify as a secret and does not meet up with the spirit of the question that Grant Kermec asked and Obama side-stepped answering.
It’s good to see Obama put his new “@POTUS” twitter handle to use, since presumably it will be reassigned to whoever is elected to replace him. I guess then he can go back to being just regular old @BarackObama.[Wall Street Journal][Politico][Photo by Pete Souza]