Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellPath to 60 narrows for Trump pick Dems delay Senate panel vote on Supreme Court nominee This week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat MORE (R-Ky.) appeared to close the door Thursday on the Senate taking up the Obama administration's signature Asia-Pacific trade deal during what's left of the president's term.
"The current agreement, the Trans-Pacific [Partnership], which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year," McConnell said at the Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast Thursday.
But McConnell said that while the trade agreement won't get approved in its current form, it could pass next year with some changes.
"It will still be around. It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration," he said.
Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump to undo Obama's climate change agenda Kushner met Russian bank executives: report Trump tweets: 'Trump Russia story is a hoax' MORE and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump tweets: 'Trump Russia story is a hoax' Path to 60 narrows for Trump pick Overnight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds security flaws in 'panic buttons' MORE have both come out against the agreement. The trade fight has also spilled over into the battle for the Senate as Republicans defend 24 Senate seats, with vulnerable GOP Sens. Rob PortmanRob PortmanOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes Vulnerable Senate Dem: Border tax concerning for agriculture MORE (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) coming out against the deal.
McConnell helped spearhead the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) through the Senate last year. The law allows any future trade deal to be fast-tracked through Congress without changes. The Kentucky Republican joked Thursday that passing the TPA was a "rather unusual experience."
"I was aligned with Barack ObamaBarack ObamaOvernight Energy: Trump's climate order coming Tuesday Feehery: Freedom Caucus follies Perry visits proposed Yucca nuclear waste site MORE against [Sen.] Harry ReidHarry ReidAfter healthcare fail, 4 ways to revise conservative playbook Dem senator 'not inclined to filibuster' Gorsuch This obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all MORE [D-Nev.] and [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.]," he said. "Almost an out-of-body experience, now that I think about it."
Obama has pledged to push the deal until he leaves office, including sending a drafting document to lawmakers earlier this month, but it has lost momentum on Capitol Hill.
McConnell previously said it was unlikely the deal would get a vote, and Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanTrump: Dems ‘will make a deal’ on healthcare Pelosi, more Dems call for Nunes to step aside Nunes will not step down from Russia probe MORE (R-Wis.) has said the agreement doesn't have the votes to pass the House. Top Senate Democrats are also vocal opponents.