President Barack Obama has been at odds with his Democratic colleagues over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In a recent interview with Yahoo, Obama said Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts’ criticism of the deal is unwarranted.
“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” he said. “And you know, she’s got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”
Warren fired back in a staff report Monday morning. “Again and again, proponents of free trade agreements claim that this time, a new trade agreement has strong and meaningful protections,” the report states. “Again and again, those protections prove unable to stop the worst abuses.”
Warren, along with other Democrats and labor unions, has been fighting against the 12-nation partnership, arguing that labor standards in other countries have been lax and it would be bad for American workers and businesses.
Warren’s office has criticized the lack of protection for workers outside of the United States. In the most recent report, Warren claimed 105 union activists have been murdered and 1,337 other labor leaders have received death threats since the U.S. reached a trade agreement with Colombia in 2011.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) refutes that claim. In February, the USTR reported that the Obama administration “… is taking unprecedented actions to promote and protect fundamental labor rights and ensure acceptable conditions of work.”