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Elizabeth Warren, seeking to extend her momentum among liberal voters before the second Democratic presidential debate, on Monday proposed sweeping changes in how America negotiates international trade agreements.
Complaining that existing procedures enrich multinational corporations at the expense of average workers, the Massachusetts senator argued that revised negotiating standards, increased public disclosure and expanded participation would produce fairer outcomes. Warren called for the changes as part of her "economic patriotism" agenda, which also includes large tax increases on the wealthy, the breakup of major high-tech firms and a regulatory crackdown on Wall Street.
Major elements of Warren's trade proposal include:
"As president, I won't hand America's leverage to big corporations to use for their narrow purposes," Warren wrote in a Medium post outlining her plan. "I'll use it to create and defend good American jobs, raise wages and farm income, combat climate change, lower drug prices and raising living standards worldwide. We will engage in international trade - but on our terms and only when it benefits American families."
By upending the way the U.S. has struck trade deals in recent decades, Warren's plan would make striking new ones vastly more difficult if not impossible in an era defined by increasing global economic integration. It stands no chance of enactment in a divided Congress.
But offering it, as she prepares to take the debate stage opposite democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont helps fill out her self-portrait as an aggressive economic populist bent on a fundamental shift in American economic institutions. At the same time, it offers a fresh target for rivals such as former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris who have targeted their appeals to more moderate Democratic voters.