The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already picked the winner in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate between Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind.
It’s free trade! (Or, more accurately, corporate-friendly trade agreements.)
Previewing the debate Tuesday morning, the Chamber tweeted merrily that both candidates have a “great track record on trade.”
Their running mates are both on the record opposing the hugely controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, but as the Chamber notes so happily, Kaine and Pence both have a long history of siding with big business. Both have praised the TPP and backed similar deals in the past.
The Chamber, a trade group that represents some of the largest corporate entities in the world, from Goldman Sachs to Dow Chemical, has spent over $1.2 billion just on lobbying since 1998, making it by far the largest influence peddler in Washington, D.C.
When Pence entered Congress, he “praised the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement,” the Chamber noted, adding approvingly that he also “voted for every free-trade agreement that came before him.”
Kaine was one of only 13 Senate Democrats to vote in support of fast track authority for President Obama to move ahead with the TPP, and just hours before he was tapped for the veep spot Kaine defended that vote. Two days later, he said he was against the deal in its current form. But the Virginia senator also praised the agreement, the Chamber argues, suggesting that they believe his newfound skepticism might quickly fade.
Tom Donohue, the president of the Chamber, said in January that Clinton’s opposition to the TPP was motivated only by the political threat of Bernie Sanders and that once elected, she will ultimately support the trade agreement.