Dem pressure on Korea

Ten House committee chairmen are among the Democrats complaining about the Obama administration’s new push for a trade deal with South Korea.
The party leaders are among the 110 Democrats who have written to the White House pressing for a meeting with Obama on trade.

In a letter sent last week, the Democrats say “it is unthinkable” to move forward with another free trade deal while the economy is struggling to recover from a deep recession. They are demanding changes to the agreement’s chapters on investment, labor and financial services, and also want commitments to reduce non-tariff barriers in South Korea to U.S. cars and beef, among other exports.
Obama has set a late-November deadline for negotiators to reach an agreement with South Korea that could pave the way for a vote on the deal. He is set to visit Seoul in November for a meeting of the G-20.
The letter shows a push on trade will continue to divide the president’s own party.

Chairmen signing the letter included Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) of Education and Labor, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) of Rules and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) of Financial Services.
Other signatories included Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a deputy whip; and Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), a Senate candidate.
Some have speculated that the South Korean trade deal could come up for a vote in a lame-duck session after the election, though Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) this week said no big-ticket items would be considered.