Inside U.S. Trade: Connolly To Press WH For Early 2016 TPP Vote; Fears GOP Defections

October 22, 2015


Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said Wednesday (Oct. 21) that he plans to drive home the message to the Obama administration that it must bring a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) implementing bill to a congressional vote within the first two or three months of 2016 or risk delaying the vote until the lame-duck session after the November elections.

October 21, 2015 | Inside U.S. Trade

In an interview with Inside U.S. Trade, Connolly said he would do so at a White House reception on Wednesday night where President Obama will meet with House and Senate Democrats supportive of the administration's trade agenda.

Connolly said it is his understanding that the White House called in a “group of of folks they want to talk to about TPP in a little more detail, both about substance and strategy.” He said a separate meeting held on Tuesday between White House officials and senior aides for the 28 pro-TPA House Democrats was “probably” a preview of Wednesday's discussion. Connolly was one of the 28 House Democrats who voted for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in June.

“I've made this clear to [U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman], the longer you wait, the more problematic this becomes in terms of a vote,” Connolly said. “And I do not want to see us voting on this in the April-October time frame.”

A vote in that time frame would make passage of a TPP deal much more difficult, because of the congressional primaries that take place during that period, he said. The primaries politicize the trade issue and empower opponents of the deal, he argued.

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