Update: Democratic Platform decides on Sanders’ progressive amendments

UPDATE – 7/10, 9:34 p.m. EST: On Saturday, the Democratic Platform Committee voted on a number of progressive policy amendments proposed by Bernie Sanders in Orlando.

Amendments calling for a gradual increase to a $15 per hour federal minimum wage, a death penalty ban and a plan to break up the largest U.S. banks, were all adopted.

However, an amendment calling for vehement Democratic opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Congress — an issue which garnered media attention this past week after a Sanders campaign petition accumulated over 700,000 signatures — was voted down.

Amendments were also voted in which called for an implementation of set prices for fossil fuels, more fracking regulations and removal of marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic from the Federal Controlled Substances list.

The party platform is a non-binding document for party candidates seeking federal office to use as a policy advocate guide.

 

A Bernie Sanders campaign petition calling on the Democratic Committee Platform to adopt an amendment opposing a Congressional vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has earned over 700,000 signatures as of Thursday.

A vote to approve TPP could come in the House and Senate as early as November in Congress’ lame-duck session, after the Nov. 8 election.

Although both Sanders and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton both publicly oppose the comprehensive 12-nation deal, pro-Clinton Drafting Committee members voted down an anti-TPP amendment to the party platform proposed in June.

It is believed that Clinton and the candidate’s surrogates are playing politics with the issue, as the former Secretary previously endorsed the agreement on multiple occasions while working as head of the State Department. However, the popularity of Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s campaigns, both which favor protectionist trade policies, forced Clinton to switch her position.

President Obama and Congressional Republican leadership support TPP, which would open more trade markets for the U.S., particularly in the Pacific Rim region. Critics of the agreement, however, argue that the deal allows multi-national corporations to override participating countries’ domestic laws if they can prove it negatively impacts profits and would suppress wages of American workers.

Sanders’ petition claims that “virtually every labor union, environmental group, and even major religious groups,” oppose TPP.

“The overwhelming majority of Democrats are strongly opposed to this disastrous trade agreement,” the Sanders campaign said in a statement. “If both Secretary Clinton and I agree that the TPP should not get on the floor of Congress this year it’s hard to understand why this amendment would not be overwhelmingly passed.”

The final draft of the Democratic platform is set to be approved Saturday by a 187-member committee in Orlando, which will also debate other Sanders-initiated amendments including a national $15 per hour minimum wage, a fracking ban and a carbon tax.

Despite vast differences in ideology, Sanders has publicly supported Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president after the final mid-June primary in Washington, D.C., but is yet to give a formal endorsement.

Anonymous Democratic Party sources told the New York Times and NPR Thursday, however, that Sanders is set to announce his endorsement of Clinton on Tuesday in New Hampshire, reports that both a campaign spokesman and the Senator himself did not refute.

In a Wednesday evening interview on MSNBC, Sanders addressed the week’s events, a potential endorsement of Hillary Clinton, as well as his support for the former Secretary’s recently released education finance reform plan.

 

[The Hill] [USA Today] [AP]