Tags: Paul ryan | fast track authority | House | votes | GOP | approve

Paul Ryan: House Has the Votes To Approve Obama's Trade Initiative

By    |   Sunday, 17 May 2015 02:32 PM

The House has the votes and is "gaining a lot of steam and momentum" to approve President Barack Obama's free trade initiative, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday.

"We will have the votes," the Wisconsin Republican told CNN reporter Brianna Keilar on the "State of the Union" program Sunday. "We're doing very well."

The legislation puts Ryan in the unusual position of sponsoring a bill to give Obama, who he campaigned against as Mitt Romney's vice-presidential candidate in the last election, trade promotion authority. If passed, the legislation will allow the president to submit a 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade and submit it to Congress to approve or reject, but not to make any amendments on it.

Ryan, like many Republicans, agrees with Obama on the issue, but many Democrats are not backing the president on the initiative.

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Ryan told Keilar that the deal actually gives lawmakers the opportunity to instruct Obama and the White House on how to broker a trade deal.

"There's a misnomer," Ryan said. "It's really not granting the President authority; it's actually Congress asserting its prerogatives, its authority in how trade agreements are done."

Critics, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have said, though, that the trade pact may not include sanctions or fines against countries that commit labor violations.

"This is different in that this requires other countries to come up to our standards," Ryan said. "What labor is concerned about, our labor standards, in NAFTA they were not inside the trade agreement and they were side agreements. They are inside the trade agreement in this particular case."

But this time around, Ryan said, "we have 150 guidelines that are required to be in any trade agreement to basically bring other countries up to American standards," and if the rules aren't followed, the United States can hold the countries to account.

"The key thing is, are these countries that we want to trade with going to open markets to our products just like we're already open to theirs?" said Ryan. "Question two, will they come to work in America's standards instead of China-like rules, that degrade the standards of trade?"

Ryan also weighed in on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who stumbled in interviews about his opinions on the Iraq war, saying that "people make their mistakes" and that he thinks Bush "made a pretty good clarification on what it was."

He said he would err on the side of giving more interviews, not less, like in Hillary Clinton's campaign, where she is not available for the media.

The media, said Ryan, tries to get candidates to stumble, but "it's good for candidates to go through that process. I was so much better at the end of the process than I was at the beginning of the process because the media is testing your mettle, and that's what we should do of our presidential candidates."

Ryan also commented about ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos and the revelations about his $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation, saying that he's always found the newsman to be "far more biased on the left side of things."

He also thinks Stephanopoulos showed bias during the 2012 presidential debates, but said he has "no issues" with him as he thinks "he's a nice guy."

But still, he thinks Stephanopoulos, a former White House Communications Director and then Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy for President Bill Clinton, should have used better judgment while working as a journalist.

Ryan also commented on last weekend's deadly Amtrak crash, denying that the crash could have been avoided had Congress spent more money on the declining rail system.

"To suggest and insinuate that this tragedy could have been avoided or would have been avoided had Congress had some more spending or had Congress had a different budget...it's the wrong suggestion to make, and it should not be in this conversation."

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The House has the votes and is gaining a lot of steam and momentum to approve President Barack Obama's free trade initiative, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday. We will have the votes, the Wisconsin Republican told CNN reporter Brianna Keilar...
Paul ryan, fast track authority, House, votes, GOP, approve
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2015-32-17
Sunday, 17 May 2015 02:32 PM
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