Nothing to worry about, Obama promises
President Obama has been making speeches over the last few months explaining that the TPP is all about reducing tariff barriers, ending child labor in developing economies, and could earn America $123.5bn in exports. He's also scoffed at talk of the TPP being secret, saying the text is available for US Congress to look at any time.
That's true, sort of. Members of Congress can go and check out the latest text – the details are still being finalized – but they can only do so with aides who have security clearance, and with no recording devices, mobile phones nor even a pencil and paper to take down notes back to the office. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) explained the process in a magnificent rant:
Obama also doesn't mention that he intended that there be no congressional vote on the TPP. As a trade deal, it could just be signed off by the president with no need for all that messy business of dealing with democratically elected representatives.
That plan fell apart when Congress objected. Plan B was to fast-track the legislation through Congress so that members would only be allowed a straight vote on the treaty, with no amendments allowed.
That dream ended after the president's own party rebelled: with the help of libertarian-minded Republicans, the president was shot down. The TPP has been in discussion for over a decade now, and Obama wants to get it finished before the next occupant of the White House claims the credit.
In the meantime, voices of protest are getting louder, and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has been campaigning on the issue. Supporters of the deal say there is a lot of misinformation about the TPP, but since we can't see the text that's understandable.
So the WikiLeaks campaign is trying to change all that. Whether or not it can find a leaker willing to inform the public is another question entirely. ®