Obama Pushes For TPP As Opponents Leverage Presidential Politics to Kill Trade Deal


Two presidential candidates oppose it. So does much of the American public. But President Barack Obama, having staked much of his foreign policy credibility on a “pivot to Asia,” shows all the signs of wanting to push a major trade deal through Congress after the November elections.

[ Inside Sources | August 31, 2016 | Value Walk]

It may be quixotic; it will certainly be contentious. It may tear apart Democrats one more time over the issue of how much globalization is too much, while also testing the appetite of Republicans for splitting their own party now that Donald Trump has laid bare how much the rank-and-file loathe trade agreements.

The Obama administration completed negotiations on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership nearly a year ago. Since then it has languished amid Republican quibbling with parts of the agreement and a presidential campaign season that has seen Trump and Hillary Clinton rail against it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, have both demurred on the TPP, with McConnell going so far as to say there will be no vote this year. But the fog of election-year politics may be obscuring an impending fight during the lame-duck Congress.

“It’s impossible to tell before the election because nobody has any incentive to say anything other than whatever they’ve been saying,” said Bill Reinsch, a longtime business lobbyist and now a fellow at the Stimson Center. “After the election there will be a vote count, more people will answer honestly, and based on that they’ll either go forward or decide there’s not enough time.”

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