Rep. Paul Ryan, facing criticism for his support of the upcoming Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) agreement, said Thursday that work has been done to remove provisions on climate change and immigration that were in the original legislation.
"The country needs to see these agreements for 60 days," the Wisconsin Republican and one-time vice presidential nominee told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program
Thursday, noting that the authority will allow Congress and the country to examine trade deals before they are approved.
"You cannot put immigration in here, cannot put climate change in ... don't believe everything you read on the Internet."
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On Wednesday, Breitbart News
reported that Washington's establishment, including Ryan, worked to try to save the "Obamatrade" bill after revelations surfaced through WikiLeaks that the bill included language to expand the executive branch's immigration powers.
"The existence of these 10 pages on immigration in the Trade and Services Agreement make it absolutely clear in my mind that the administration is negotiating immigration — and for them to say they are not — they have a lot of explaining to do based on the actual text in this agreement," NumbersUSA director of government relations, Rosemary Jenks, told Breitbart News.
At that point, Breitbart reports, Ryan and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King introduced an amendment to push language into a different bill, the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015, and King said the changes would fix the issue in the TPA legislation.
On Thursday, Ryan told Fox News that there is much confusion over the TPA legislation, which he called a "process," and "not a trade agreement. It's a procedure for how you consider trade agreements."
But the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another part of the "Obamatrade" legislation, is still under discussion and doesn't "exist yet," but will likely be discussed this fall.
Ryan told Fox that there are votes to pass the legislation, which Obama is pushing, while many lawmakers on both sides of the issue have voiced concerns.
"We have the votes we want to have," said Ryan. "We're where we want to be and planning on being. Some Democrats will have to support this over the finish line."
But the matter is "really simple," he said: "Either we shape the [trade] agreement or it shapes us. Other people are writing the rules of global economy, and as an American who wants to lead and see our country lead, I'm trying to pass trade."
Ryan, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, presented his amendment Tuesday night, reports the National Journal
, to "ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to U.S. law or obligate the United States with respect to global warming or climate change."
Environmentalists say the provision sends the wrong message a time when more climate change efforts are needed than ever, but Ryan said the amendment will act as a way to win Republican support for the bill, and get support from people who fear that President Barack Obama will use his trade negotiations to take action on climate change instead of trade.
Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia has previously warned that the president could use fast-track to advance a radical environmental agenda, but his spokesman, Greg Dolan, said he did not ask for the amendment.
Obama is backing the trade legislation and fast-track provisions, which would allow trade deals to be passed without several amendments in Congress, but Democrats oppose the matter, saying the international deals that could result would damage environmental and labor issues.
The White House is not commenting on Ryan's amendment.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who supports the legislation, said he is not familiar with Ryan's amendment, but noted that it could "ease those fears" that the TPA legislation "could be used to give Obama unilateral authority."
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