Ryan says trade deal short on votes in Congress

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

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term 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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP eyes limits on investor tax break Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot 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 will investigate aluminum imports as national security hazard Overnight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations 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.