House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that bipartisan legislation expanding President Obama's trade authority sets the stage for bad trade deals harmful to U.S. workers.
Weighing in for the first time since the trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation was introduced last week, Pelosi said the bill lacks safeguards protecting U.S. workers and fritters an historic opportunity to improve worker rights, food safety and the environment across the globe.
“We recognize there will be bumps in that road, that path. [But] I think what the Republicans put out, what the Senate plus [Rep. Paul] Ryan put out, is not a bump in the road, it's more like a pothole,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “And we can do better than that.”
Pelosi stopped just short of saying she'll vote against the TPA measure if it reaches the House floor in its current form — “I'm not telling you how I'm voting on anything because we don't have anything to vote on yet,” she said — but also criticized the legislation for stealing too much power from Congress to influence the debate.
“On trade where we have a strong prerogative, that bill surrenders much of our prerogative. So let's see how we can improve that bill,” she said. “The status quo is not good, [and] in some places where the bill validates the status quo, that's ... viewed as a setback.”