- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2015

A spokeswoman for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign said Friday Mrs. Clinton has been “clear” on the issue of trade but would not say if Mrs. Clinton would vote to grant President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade pacts.

“She’s been very clear about this,” spokeswoman Karen Finney said on CNN. “She’s voted for trade agreements in the past and against trade agreements, and her sort of test, if you will, on this one has been: She wants to see the final language.”

Ms. Finney said Mrs. Clinton is concerned about currency manipulation and protecting workers and national security.

“Given how dysfunctional Congress has been, to say I want to see the final language makes a lot of sense,” she said.

Granting Mr. Obama “trade promotion authority,” an issue that has pitted the president against labor unions and some Democrats on Capitol Hill, would allow him to send trade deals, such as the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote.

Would Mrs. Clinton, if she were in the Senate today, vote to give Mr. Obama that fast-track authority? Ms. Finney was asked.

“I think she would want to see … the language,” Ms. Finney said. “Saying you roughly know what’s in something that could have huge implications in this country, that’s not the same thing as saying I want to see where we end up, and I want to see what the particulars are.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for one, a rival of Mrs. Clinton’s for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has called on her to state a clear position on the matter.

“He’s in the Senate,” Ms. Finney said. “This is where she’s coming from on this issue, but I would also point out she’s been on the campaign trail talking with voters. A few have asked her about this, and this is the answer she’s given.”

Ms. Finney also said Mrs. Clinton has talked about, and heard voters talk about, other issues such as small businesses, paid leave, voting rights and the problem of heroin and opiate addiction in the country.


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