Ryan says trade deal short on votes in Congress

Greg Nash

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRNC chairman: Ryan one of 'brightest stars' in Republican Party Gingrich: 'Of course' we can afford to have president with split personality Could a President Clinton heal a divided nation? MORE (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that there are not yet enough votes in Congress to pass President Obama's sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal.

Ryan also said lawmakers have a long list of issues on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was completed in October and signed by the United States and 11 other nations last week in New Zealand. 

"There are enough concerns about this agreement, some that I also have, where I don't see enough support for it right now," Ryan told The Journal Times.

As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan helped shepherd trade promotion authority through Congress last summer, giving lawmakers and up-or-down vote on the agreement without any chance to amend it.

The deal faces opposition from a majority Democrats on Capitol Hill and from presidential candidates in both parties. 

Congressional leaders and supportive business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers are pressing the White House to make changes to the deal that could smooth its passage. But that could require new concessions by other nations.

Provisions on pharmaceuticals and tobacco have provoked the most complaints from lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRubio: GOP Congress could go in different direction than Trump Pelosi blasts GOP leaders for silence on Trump Reid: Groping accusations show Trump’s ‘sickness’ MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin HatchGOP lawmakers ask IRS to explain M wasted on unusable email system GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Schumer says Pacific trade pact may have enough votes to pass the Senate MORE (R-Utah) have said they want to get the TPP done but that President Obama and his trade team must address their concerns or face the possibility that the deal will stall out on Capitol Hill.

Obama has called on Congress to pass the agreement and along with U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael FromanUS confirms China has ended tax breaks for domestic airplanes House lawmakers call on Obama administration to oppose Iran joining global trade body Overnight Finance: Trump spurs tax reform talk | Feds release banks' revised 'living wills' MORE has vowed to work with lawmakers to ensure that happens before he leaves office. 

Ryan and McConnell met with the president at the White House last week to discuss trade and other issues facing Congress in the final year of his two-term presidency.