New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Thursday on Hillary Rodham Clinton to oppose the controversial trade deal that is being sought by President Barack Obama with the backing of most congressional Republicans but is fiercely opposed by labor unions.
With Clinton's presidential campaign kickoff rally scheduled for tomorrow, de Blasio said "it's very important she speak up" against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The House of Representatives is due to vote Friday on whether to grant Obama's "fast-track" authority to negotiate the deal. The Senate passed such a bill last month.
"I'd like to see a very clear statement that this trade deal should be opposed and should be stopped," de Blasio, a Democrat, told reporters in a conference call with Robert Reich, a labor secretary during Bill Clinton's presidency and a fellow foe of the pact.
De Blasio has repeatedly declined to endorse Clinton, saying he wants to hear her plans for tackling income inequality.
He wouldn't say yesterday whether he could still endorse her if she doesn't oppose the trade agreement. "I don't want to prejudge different scenarios," de Blasio said.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership would loosen trade barriers among a dozen nations. If Congress agrees to "fast-track" legislation, it could later accept or reject a trade agreement but it could not amend it or filibuster in a final debate.
Reich slammed the deal as "NAFTA on steroids," referring to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement he had touted as a member of Bill Clinton's cabinet.
Unions and their liberal allies blame NAFTA for harming U.S. workers who have to compete with cheaper foreign labor. Supporters say the deal would create jobs and strengthen the economy.