AP EXPLAINS: Why Sanders is focused on 'lame duck' Congress

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Posted: Jul 26, 2016 12:00 AM
AP EXPLAINS: Why Sanders is focused on 'lame duck' Congress

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Timing is everything.

Bernie Sanders put Democrats on notice Monday that he's not just hoping to influence Washington's agenda under the next president — he's got his eye on this fall's "lame duck" session of Congress.

Here's why:

BLOCKING TPP

Sanders is out to block the Trans Pacific Partnership from becoming law. It's a huge issue to his loyal delegates, who took to the convention floor chanting "no TPP" on Monday. Donald Trump also opposes the massive Asia-Pacific trade deal as a jobs killer. And Hillary Clinton, who championed the deal when she was secretary of state, has said she opposes the current proposal because of its potential impact on U.S. workers.

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WILL OBAMA TRY HIS LUCK WITH A LAME DUCK?

Sanders is concerned that President Barack Obama may try to get legislators to approve the TPP in the congressional session that takes place after the November election and before the new Congress and president take office next year. Some of the outgoing lawmakers may be more inclined to support the controversial trade deal than those who will again have to answer to voters.

In his speech to the Democratic convention Monday night, Sanders highlighted the party platform's "strong opposition to job-killing trade agreements like the TPP."

As delegates waved signs and chanted their opposition to TPP, he added, "We have got to make sure that TPP does not get to the floor of the Congress in the lame-duck session."

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AN UNCLEAR PATH

The trade deal is one of the main economic planks of Obama's effort to increase engagement with the Asia-Pacific and counter China's rising clout in the region. He'd love to notch TPP as a final accomplishment of his administration.

Clinton's campaign won't say whether she would try to renegotiate the deal with the 11 other TPP nations if she's elected.