Tags: Paul Ryan | Ted Cruz | Paul Ryan | Ted Cruz | Barack Obama | fast track | trade

Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz: Congress Gets Final Say on Trade Pacts

By    |   Wednesday, 22 April 2015 10:05 AM

President Barack Obama may have battled with Rep. Paul Ryan during the last presidential election, but today the Wisconsin lawmaker is a critical ally and a leading voice in the effort to secure passage of historic trade deals with Europe and Asia.

"There is a lot at stake," said Ryan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. "One in five American jobs depends on trade, and that share is only going to grow. Ninety-six percent of the world's customers are outside the U.S. To create more jobs here, America needs to sell more goods and services over there."

Before trade negotiations involving the European Union and another dealing with 11 Pacific Rim nations can move forward, Congress must pass legislation that Ryan co-sponsored along with Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon to grant trade promotion authority (TPA) to the president.

Last week, the lawmakers introduced their bill outlining "21st century congressional negotiating objectives" that future administrations "must follow when entering into and conducting trade talks with foreign countries," they said in a statement.

The authority, which affords the president and Congress the ability to "fast-track" trade deals, expired in 2007 and is opposed by many of Obama's key allies, including labor unions and environmentalists.

While Ryan and Cruz are allied with Obama in pursuing the two global trade pacts, they argued that "fast-track" legislation would keep lawmakers involved in the process from the beginning and ensure that the current and future presidents are held to account.

"But Congress can't just take the administration's word that it will drive a hard bargain. We have to hold it accountable, and that is what trade-promotion authority will help do," they wrote on Tuesday, adding that "before anything becomes law, Congress gets the final say."

Appearing Tuesday night on Fox News Channel's "On The Record with Greta Van Susteren," Ryan continued to make his case for granting TPA, which he said would ensure the U.S. can "write the rules" of the global economy.

"There is a race right now" to write those rules, he said. "So what we are trying to do is make sure that we write the rules of the global economy that benefit American workers."

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Standing in the way of one of Obama's top legislative priorities is Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who told reporters on Tuesday that few people oppose the Ryan bill more than he does.

"You couldn't find a person ... who feels more negatively about it than I do," said Reid, according to The Huffington Post.

"So the answer is not only no, but hell no," he said referring to his position on the measure.

While Reid and other liberal Democrats in Congress have been clear about their position, their party's presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, has remained vague on the issue.

"Any trade deal has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security. We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and the skills to be competitive," said Clinton this week, according to The Washington Post.

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Politics
President Barack Obama may have battled with Rep. Paul Ryan during the last presidential election, but today the Wisconsin lawmaker is a critical ally and a leading voice in the effort to secure passage of historic trade deals with Europe and Asia.
Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Barack Obama, fast track, trade
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2015-05-22
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 10:05 AM
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