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TechNet endorses Trans Pacific Partnership

Silicon Valley’s bipartisan political action committee endorsed the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement Monday – a pact on which Rep. Mike Honda has not yet taken a final position, and which his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, opposes.

TechNet, a policy and political network of tech CEOs and senior executives, endorsed the free-trade pact Monday and urged Congress to approve it.

“The U.S. technology sector has grown into a leading force in the U.S. economy, fueled by an unparalleled commitment to innovation and an unprecedented investment in research and development,” President and CEO Linda Moore said in a news release. “The statistics are staggering: the U.S. innovation economy now supports more than 30 percent of U.S. GDP and employs more than 6.5 million Americans. It’s being driven by the incredible new technologies developed in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Austin, Boston, and beyond, and it’s been accelerated by international trade.”

“Yet, our nation’s ability to continue to lead in this sector is dependent on access to the fastest growing markets in the world and the uninhibited flow of data across borders,” she continued. “This agreement supports U.S. technology leadership around the globe, and will drive economic growth and job creation here at home.”

President Obama is likely to call for the TPP’s passage during his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night. But Honda, D-San Jose, has not yet taken a position on the agreement negotiated between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim trading partners, Chief of Staff Jennifer Van der Heide said Monday.

He did vote last year against the Trade Promotion Authority that allowed the Obama administration to fast-track this trade pact, calling for Congress to have a bigger role in its drafting. And he has spoken about making sure agreements like this include strong, clear and enforceable labor, environmental and human rights standards.

Khanna said Monday he would vote against the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“First, the tribunals that have been set up to adjudicate give too much power to corporations and don’t take labor, environmental and human rights stakeholders into consideration,” he said via email. “Second, there is too much of an IP and data exclusivity giveaway to pharmaceuticals that would deprive many people around the world of access to drugs.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • NewDem2016

    I just reread Honda’s attack quote of Khanna from Friday’s labor endorsement in your blogplost. Honda’s comms/political director attacked Khanna for being against TPP (incorrect) and alluding, by definition of the attack quote, that Honda had made a decision and was staunchly against TPP. What am I missing here? Did Vedant lie in his quote? Is anyone calling Honda on it?

  • Vivek Karnataki

    This is yet another example of decisive, independent and issue-based stand taken by Mr. Khanna. It proves that he will neither be beholden to party loyalties nor pander to the corporate businessmen who want this passed without sufficient thought. The points raised by Mr. Khanna are valid and need to be thoroughly debated before this is passed.

  • Dave

    While I’m pleased to hear not all politicians are immediately falling in line in support of that obscene piece of legislation, I am also dismayed by the loosely connected tangents being made in order to steal some attention away from the original topic just to make another political attack. I’m not advocating one candidate over another but would like to request saving these barbs for a more appropriate time. You don’t need to drag everyone else with you into the muck and grime in order get your message across.

  • NewDem2016

    Unbelievable. I just received a FUNDRAISING email from Honda’s campaign, informing me of his decision today to vote against TPP. That Honda chose to communicate it to the masses in a fundraising ask (rather than, say, a congressional office email) is unbelievably inappropriate. Seriously. IMHO, Honda was pretty slimy with his delayed response last week, and he got called out for it. Now, I find it pretty shocking that he would try to raise funds from his manipulative posturing all these months.

    I understand that some supporters/voters might prefer Honda over Khanna, but at least Khanna answered a direct question honestly last week, without hesitation, and hasn’t acted so unseemly to raise money from it.

  • JohnW

    Why is it “unbelievably inappropriate” and “shocking?” If you want to criticize him for hedging and flip-flopping, fine. I’m in favor of TPP, but I don’t see anything unusual or inappropriate in Honda announcing his decision in a fund-raising email. Happens all the time.

  • NewDem2016

    that’s fine for you. I find it in incredible poor taste. Something that’s been such a difficult decision that his office Chief of Staff, Jennifer van der Heide, gave a waffling response last week, for him to then be forced to make a decision and choose to fundraise off it. You’re right. It does happen all the time. Again, doesn’t mean that it’s the moral, ethical or right thing to do. Gotta change this type of politics!!!!

  • JohnW

    Yes, I want politicians to say what they mean and mean what they say. And, when they change their minds on something, I want it to be because they have genuinely “evolved”, or in the spirit of principled compromise and consensus building, not just to raise funds or get votes. I also want world peace in our time.