Tags: Barack Obama | Paul Ryan | Paul Ryan | TPA | TPP | fast-track | trade

Paul Ryan: Fast-Track Approval for TPP 'Important' for US

Image: Paul Ryan: Fast-Track Approval for TPP 'Important' for US
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By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2015 09:57 PM

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has been on a months-long campaign to build support to give President Barack Obama additional authority to negotiate a trade deal with Pacific Rim nations — but it's the GOP lawmaker's own political reputation that could be on the line.

The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, which allows Congress to give the administration fast-track approval to move ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, is expected to clear the Senate before the Memorial Day recess.

But a much tougher road lies ahead in the House, where 150 Democrats are opposed despite the push by the leader of their party, Politico reports.

"I just think it would be a big mistake for our country if we were to fail to do this," Ryan, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, told Politico.

"I think this would be a punctuation mark on the declining narrative of America and we should not have our fingerprints, as Republicans, on anything that makes it look like we’re in decline. Trade is very important. It’s about time that this administration gets around to it. Forget our party — this is important for our country."

Ryan is in the odd position of pushing the legislation even though House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is against it — and as Obama scrambles to build still-weak Democratic support, Politico reports.

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Majority Whip, bluntly tells Politico the pro-TPA faction will need "more [votes] than they have now."

Democrats have fewer than 20 public supporters, and they'll need to come up with some 30 "yes" votes if they stand a chance, according to Politico. Meanwhile, there are worries lawmakers will go home for recess and get heat from constituents that could scuttle the bill, Politico reports.

Ryan, in the meantime, is running an "ad hoc whip operation" to keep track of the votes — and try to win over undecided lawmakers and conservative groups, Politico reports.

Club for Growth President David McIntosh is "confident in … Ryan as being a strong free trade advocate, as well as for his principled opposition to China currency provisions," the group's spokesman, Doug Sachtleben, told Politico.

The Heritage Foundation is less supportive, but "what Paul is trying to do is help them understand the difference between this agreement and the agreements of the past," GOP Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee told Politico.

"Congress really does have more authority in this bill than what the House has had in the past."

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Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has been on a months-long campaign to build support to give President Barack Obama additional authority to negotiate a trade deal with Pacific Rim nations — but it's the GOP lawmaker's own political reputation that could be on the line.
Paul Ryan, TPA, TPP, fast-track, trade, GOP, Congress, votes, Trans-Pacific Partnership
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2015-57-20
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 09:57 PM
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