- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said on Friday he has not changed his positions on items involving two hot-button issues — trade and abortion — as he’s come under consideration to be Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick.

Mr. Kaine acknowledged that while he voted last year to give President Obama “fast track” authority on trade deals, he’s always maintained reservations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact itself.

“I really haven’t shifted my position on that,” Mr. Kaine, the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee, said on CNN’s “New Day.” “When I voted for it at the time, I said two things: one, I’m not declaring where I am on the TPP [until] it’s done.”

He also said he was worried about a provision in the pact allowing corporations to challenge trade practices in private courts without giving labor or environmental groups a similar right.

“I put that on the table a year ago and said as you’re working this deal out, you got to answer my concern,” Mr. Kaine said. “And it’s been a year and nobody has given me any reason why we should embrace a trade deal that allows companies special rights in secret courts that aren’t given to labor unions and environmental groups.”

“The deal’s going to come up for a vote and I can’t vote for it with these secret courts that are open to companies only,” he said.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally who supports the TPP, created a stir earlier this week when he predicted Mrs. Clinton would support some version of it after the election. Both Mr. McAuliffe and the Clinton campaign quickly tried to walk back the comments.

Mrs. Clinton has also expressed support for repealing the federal Hyde Amendment, which bars certain federal money from funding abortions, and her campaign said earlier this week Mr. Kaine is on board with the effort.

“I have been for the Hyde Amendment. I haven’t changed my position on that,” Mr. Kaine said Friday. “Have not changed my position on that.”

A campaign spokesman told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Mr. Kaine is not personally for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, but that he’s committed to carrying out Mrs. Clinton’s agenda.

And earlier this week on CNN, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Mr. Kaine would stand with Mrs. Clinton in pushing to repeal it.

“He has said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment,” Mr. Mook said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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