Less than a week after senior politicians in both congressional tax committees reached an agreement on a bill granting the White House "fast-track" authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade act, President Obama is going on the offensive against those who oppose it.
In an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews that aired on 21 April, Obama singled out Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and her supporters. "I love Elizabeth. We're allies on a whole host of issues. But she's wrong on this," he said. Warren was said to be considering running for US president, but has denied those rumours to the press.
The president added: "I would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was good for the middle class. And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad this trade deal is, when you dig into the facts they are wrong."
According to Time, Warren has been an outspoken critic of the deal along with several Congressional Democrats. Warren joined Democratic Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Edward J Markey of Massachusetts in a December letter to United States Trade Representative Michael Froman about their concerns.
"We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises," they wrote.
In response, Obama said: "I've spent the last six and half years yanking this economy out of the worst recession since the Great Depression... Everything I do has been focused on how do we make sure the middle class is getting a fair deal. Now I would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was good for the middle class.
"And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad this trade deal is," he continued, "when you dig into the facts, they are wrong."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal between the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations, would cut trade barriers and unify standards for one-third of global trade. The bill, which will be up for a vote in Congress soon, also faces opposition from labour unions.
On 18 April, the AFL-CIO labour union hosted more than 50 events for a "massive mobilisation effort". The labour union federation also began an advertising campaign to encourage visitors to voice their opposition to the fast-track bill.