Obama signs trade bills

Obama signs trade bills
President Obama on Monday signed a fast-track trade authority bill into law, cementing a major legislative victory at the end of a bruising months-long battle within his own party. 

Obama signed the measure during a brief ceremony in the East Room of the White House, where he hailed the bipartisan cooperation that was needed to get the legislation through Congress after an intense lobbying campaign that pitted the president against congressional Democrats and created a rare alliance with Republicans. 

The president was surrounded by key lawmakers and members of his administration who kept this trade agenda alive through several procedural hiccups even though, he said, it had “been declared dead more than once.”
 
The trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation, also known as fast-track, is expected to speed the completion of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations with 11 other Pacific Rim nations in the coming weeks. 
 
Obama also signed a measure into law that provides $450 million to retrain workers who lose their jobs because of expanded trade and extends trade preferences for another decade to sub-Saharan Africa.
 
The president said he believed that signing the legislation would be good for American workers and businesses and would give the United States a global competitive edge. 
 
“We’re going to turn global trade into a race to the top and reestablish our leadership role in the world,” he told the crowd that included business owners and other stakeholders. 
 
“Trade is one part of a broader agenda of middle-class economics,” he said. 
 
Behind him during the signing were U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanUS trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report Overnight Finance: Trump hits China on currency manipulation, countering Treasury | Trump taps two for Fed board | Tax deadline revives fight over GOP overhaul | Justices set to hear online sales tax case Froman joins Mastercard to oversee global business expansion MORE, Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE, Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertGOP super PAC targets House districts with new M ad buys Lawmakers reach deal on bill to crack down on synthetic opioid imports GOP lawmakers back discharge petition to force immigration votes MORE (R-Wash.), Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindCongress must defend role in international trade It's time for Congress to step in and stop Trump's trade abuses Lobbying world MORE (D-Wis.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog won’t drop Pruitt probes | Exxon leaves conservative advocacy group | Lawmakers offer changes to Endangered Species Act House Dem amendment seeks to ensure Pruitt probes are completed Dems struggle with unity amid leadership tensions MORE (D-Va.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin Sunday shows preview: Washington braces for Trump's Supreme Court pick America stands to lose as China places bets on developing world MORE (D-Del.), Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE and Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerFormer Obama officials launch advocacy group aimed at Trump's foreign policy Trump transportation chief to join Biden for jobs event DeVos should ‘persist’ despite liberal opposition MORE
 
Jeff Zients, the director of the United States National Economic Council and an architect of the White House’s full-court press in Congress, was in the audience. 
 
The president also thanked Republican leaders who helped deliver the trade victory — Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Veterans are left out of medical marijuana protections MORE (Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (Ky.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders jockey for affection of House conservatives Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record MORE (Wis.) — who couldn’t make the ceremony because they are out of town for the July 4 recess. 
 
Those leaders and the White House remained resilient during the legislative fight and were quick to find a way to breathe new life back into the trade agenda just when it seemed out of chances to pass. 
 
The TPP’s leaders are aiming to finish a deal this summer, meaning at the earliest Congress could vote sometime this fall on the massive agreement that covers 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. 
 
Locking in a deal sets up the next fight between Congress and the White House over whether the TPP meets the high standards set by lawmakers.