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Feingold Challenges Johnson To Oppose Pacific Trade Deal

Democratic Senate Challenger Breaks With President, Says TPP Will Cause Layoffs

Russ Feingold
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Speaking in Madison Monday, Russ Feingold — the former Democratic senator who’s running to reclaim his seat in 2016 — spoke out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and called on Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson to also oppose the deal.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement between the United States and 11 other counties. Officials from all participating countries signed the agreement earlier this month in New Zealand, but the deal still needs approval from Congress before taking effect.

Feingold called the agreement a “raw deal for Wisconsin families.”

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“We want to encourage exporting Wisconsin products — not Wisconsin jobs,” he said.

The former senator said the deal was written to promote corporate interests and doesn’t do enough to protect workers’ rights or the environment.

Johnson has yet to weigh in on the deal. However, the senator’s campaign said Monday that he is reaching out to affected constituents and is closely examining the agreement before announcing his support or opposition. In an emailed statement, a campaign spokesperson said that Feingold was trying to score “cheap political points by condemning this deal before he’d even read it.”

After delivering his remarks Monday, Feingold also commented on the race against Johnson, saying that he thinks it will be closer than polls indicate.

Editor’s Note: This article originally contained reporting by the Associated Press. It has since been replaced with reporting by Wisconsin Public Radio.