Ryan says trade deal short on votes in Congress

Ryan says trade deal short on votes in Congress
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanTrump hosts Hill leaders for ice breaker Obama's last law: TALENT Act will enhance government efficiency The new Congress's opportunity to turn the tide on abortions 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. 

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"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 McConnellOvernight Finance: Trump takes US out of Pacific trade deal | WH says Trump has left his businesses | Lobbyists expect boom times McConnell to Dems: Work with us on GOP's 'formidable' challenges McCain: Trump's withdrawal from TPP a 'serious mistake' MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin HatchObama's last law: TALENT Act will enhance government efficiency McCain: Trump's withdrawal from TPP a 'serious mistake' Trump, GOP set to battle on spending cuts 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 FromanOvernight Finance: Carson, Warren battle at hearing | Rumored consumer bureau pick meets Trump | Trump takes credit for Amazon hirings | A big loss for Soros US launches trade case against China over aluminum subsidies Trade with China important to US economy, report 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.