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Tuesday, June 16, 2015, Ashar 2, 1422 BS, Shaban 28, 1436 Hijr

Clinton: Obama should use trade fight to his advantage
Published : Tuesday, 16 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 17

DES MOINES, June 15: Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that President Barack Obama should use a setback in Congress to seek the best possible trade agreement with a 11 other Pacific Rim nations, pointing to the stumbles over the pact as an opportunity to address Democrats' concerns about job protections and wages.
"Let's take the lemons and turn it into lemonade," Clinton told more than 700 supporters at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, addressing the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade proposal that has splintered Obama from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and rank-and-file Democrats.
Courting Iowa voters, Clinton sought to address Democratic opponents of the trade legislation, including liberals and labor unions, who have said the Obama-backed plan will cost U.S. jobs. The agreement has not been finalized or submitted to Congress.
Clinton sought to distance herself from Obama, urging him to listen to Pelosi and Democrats "to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible. And if we don't get it, there should be no deal."
"I have held my peace because I thought it was important for the Congress to have a full debate without thrusting presidential politics and candidates into it," Clinton said at a house party in Burlington, Iowa. "But now I think the president and his team could have a chance to drive a harder bargain."
Trade has emerged as an early divider between Clinton and her lesser-known rivals in the Democratic presidential race who are trying to outflank her on the left. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was campaigning in Iowa on Sunday, again called on Clinton to oppose the Pacific trade deal.
"It is a failed trade policy, and I would hope that the secretary joins ... the vast majority of Democrats in the Congress in saying, 'No, we've got to defeat this piece of legislation,'" Sanders said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has also opposed the deal and likened it to the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
 In a statement that did not mention Hillary Clinton by name, O'Malley said Democratic leaders should "step up and urge Congress not to fast track this bad trade deal." He said NAFTA "devastated communities across the country and cost a million American jobs."
The White House and Republican leaders in Congress now face long odds in trying to revive the trade legislation after congressional Democrats helped defeat parts of the plan last week, including Obama's attempt to secure so-called fast track authority.
 Without the power to negotiate trade deals that Congress can approve or reject, but not amend, the president would face difficulty in securing the Asia trade deal that his administration has worked toward for years.
Pelosi decided to side with the overwhelming majority of House Democrats and oppose Obama's plan, saying it required a "a better deal for America's workers."    ? AP

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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