Rare Trip by Obama to Capitol Hill in Attempt to Save Trade Bill

In one more sign that the trade bill of President Barack Obama is in jeopardy, the president traveled on Friday to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional Democrats pushing for more support on a vote that is related to trade authority.

Democrats in the House, of which the overwhelming majority are trying to defeat fast track legislation on trade, met the President early Friday, according to an aide from the party.

A final vote for the legislation should take place later Friday, following a procedural vote that narrowly passed on Thursday night.

With toxic politics regarding trade dividing the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi the House Leader for the party along with her leadership team has remained on the sidelines. The White House administration has instead been relying on Ron Kind the Wisconsin Rep. and a small group of pro-trade Democrats to pass the issue that is most important for the president.

John Boehner the House Speaker has said for a number of months that the trade agenda for the President could not pass without help from the Democrats, so the Wisconsin legislator has methodically been working to boost the meager vote of the Democrats that is hovering around just 20 out of 188 members in the House.

The rules cannot be made simpler said Kind, which is why the Democrats should vote for the legislation. He says that if Congress does not give the President the authority to negotiate with a number of trade partners, the U.S. will be at a disadvantage competitively. Kind is serving a 10th term in Wisconsin. He has been involved in other key political battles that have divided Democrats including healthcare what he described as exhausting.

The majority of Republicans back the trade promotion authority, which would help the negotiations between the United States and close to a dozen other countries working on trying to finalize the trade deal – Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The measure guarantees that Congress would vote on the deal with little debate and add not amendments. Without that fast track authority, the White House administration officials say the negotiations at the international level on the trade deal would fall apart.

 

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