Democratic freshmen oppose fast-track trade powers for Obama

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The letter comes as the Senate Finance panel on Tuesday cleared Michael Froman to head the trade office. Froman has vowed to work with Congress to renew fast-track authority, which he has called a “critical tool.”

Free trade critics said the letter from the freshmen Democrats should give cover to the Republican-led House not to give Obama the extra powers he seeks.

“This letter reveals that even for a Democratic president, the new Democratic House members do not want to give away their constitutional trade authority and thus lose control over whether agreements meet the public interest,” Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said in a statement. “It would be perverse if the Republican House members who regularly attack President Obama for overstepping his authority were willing to grant him more power by explicitly delegating away the exclusive constitutional trade power established by the Founding Fathers specifically to check presidential unilateralism on trade.”

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