Tags: harry reid | tpp | fast track | senate | highways

Sen. Reid Maneuvering to Stall Fast-Track Trade Deal

Image: Sen. Reid Maneuvering to Stall Fast-Track Trade Deal
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2015 11:37 AM

A Pacific Rim trade deal, which was expected to enjoy easy passage in Congress, is now being held up over familiar infighting between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic nemesis Harry Reid, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The measure, a "priority for both Republicans and the Obama administration," said the Journal, was set to be taken up in the Senate on Tuesday.

But Reid has intervened on allowing the fast-track authority provision to say that there are more important issues that deserve attention now, among them work on extending legislation on intelligence and highway improvement programs. Those will expire in June if not immediate given direction, Reid said.

Reid's actions are geared at protecting labor unions, with whom he is deeply allied, the Journal reported.

It said of the holdup: "Mr. Reid, a major ally of labor unions, then worried that Republicans would try to pass the trade bill without securing a path forward for related Democratic priorities, including a program that helps workers who lose out under new trade agreements and a separate customs bill that includes language to prod the administration to take tougher steps to combat currency manipulation."

Reid told the Huffington Post of his concerns amid the awaited trade deal as President Barack Obama seeks "fast-track" authority: "We have two very complicated issues that I think should have strong consideration before we even deal with trade. I'm not willing to lay over and play dead on trade until we have some commitment from them on surface transportation."

The president was hopeful that Congress would intervene to grant him quick authority on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade deal between the United States and 11 other South American and Pacific Rim countries, NBC News said.

"While some in Congress laud the trade accord as good for the economy, others worry about granting the president the right to request an up-or-down vote in Congress on a trade agreement they say would be bad for American workers," NBC News said.

McConnell had hoped to pivot to the TPP after votes on the Iran nuclear deal.

"The American people deserve more opportunities — not more special interest roadblocks," McConnell told NBC. "That's why I plan, with the support of members of both parties, to turn to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act once we finish the Iran bill."

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A Pacific Rim trade deal, which was expected to enjoy easy passage in Congress, is now being held up over familiar infighting between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic nemesis Harry Reid, The Wall Street Journal reported.
harry reid, tpp, fast track, senate, highways
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2015-37-11
Monday, 11 May 2015 11:37 AM
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