Jessica Wehrman in the Washington Bureau is reporting that senators and House members who are considering whether to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries must go to a private room to review it.
They can take notes, but the notes can’t leave the room. They’re stripped of their cell phones, and two staffers with the U.S. Trade Representative monitor the room at all times, according to Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office.
The document, Brown said, “affects 40 percent of the world’s economy.” The secrecy, he said, “begs the question: What are they hiding?”
Brown, an ardent foe of the proposed agreement, is, like other lawmakers, barred from discussing details of the proposal with journalists, or even disclosing specifics on where the room is.
Brown joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in writing a letter to President Barack Obama in urging him to declassify some of the negotiating text of the treaty.