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 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, Treasury Secretary Jack LewJack LewOne year later, the Iran nuclear deal is a success by any measure Chinese President Xi says a trade war hurts the US and China Overnight Finance: Price puts stock trading law in spotlight | Lingering questions on Trump biz plan | Sanders, Education pick tangle over college costs MORE, Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Dave ReichertDavid ReichertArtwork depicting cops as animals permanently removed from Capitol complex Cop painting to be removed from Capitol complex next week Ryan confident painting depicting cops as pigs will come down MORE (R-Wash.), Ron KindRon KindRyan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous vote Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote Junior Dems plot strategy as leadership vote looms MORE (D-Wis.), Gerry ConnollyGerry ConnollyDecaying DC bridge puts spotlight on Trump plan Lawmakers condemn Trump for attack on John Lewis Dem boycotts of inauguration grow MORE (D-Va.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Sen. Chris CoonsChris CoonsTrump, Democrats can bridge divide to make college more affordable Senate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks Booker to vote against Tillerson MORE (D-Del.), Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas J. 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 PritzkerOvernight Tech: Trump team eyes FCC overhaul | AT&T chief says no plans to spin off CNN in merger | Commerce pick heads to hearing Tech groups warn against EU copyright rule The best way to grow and sustain a strong economy is not easy 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 BoehnerLast Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions An anti-government ideologue like Mulvaney shouldn't run OMB MORE (Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellWill America really unite behind Trump? Top GOP senator warns of weekend work on Trump nominees Overnight Finance: Scoop – Trump team eyes dramatic spending cuts | Treasury pick survives stormy hearing MORE (Ky.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanBernie Sanders's Inauguration Day, imagined: What could've been Live coverage of Trump's inauguration Who’s who in Trump World 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.