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 FromanWhite House gives up on passing the TPP Froman: Congress can pass the Pacific Rim trade deal US confirms China has ended tax breaks for domestic airplanes MORE, Treasury Secretary Jack LewJack LewOvernight Finance: House GOP plans short-term spending bill | Senate Republicans not happy | Yellen intends to finish term Lew: Don't paint Wall Street execs with 'broad brushstroke' Dumping Obama’s faux foreign tax legislation should be high on Trump's to-do list MORE, Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Dave ReichertDavid ReichertUS businesses can start applying for tariff reductions on scarce products House lawmakers call on Obama administration to oppose Iran joining global trade body Ryan: Pacific deal can't be fixed in time for lame-duck vote MORE (R-Wash.), Ron KindRon KindJunior Dems plot strategy as leadership vote looms Ryan: Pacific deal can't be fixed in time for lame-duck vote House Democrat expects support to grow for Pacific trade deal MORE (D-Wis.), Gerry ConnollyGerry ConnollyCongress rips DC Metro over falsified reports that led to July train derailment DC Metro chief pledges to cut train delays in half Tim Ryan ponders Pelosi challenge MORE (D-Va.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Sen. Chris CoonsChris CoonsTrump gets chance to remake the courts A Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Overnight Defense: Trump reportedly picking Mattis for Defense chief 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 PritzkerLaunching the next generation of weather satellites Five takeaways from the money race Armani, Batali among guests at White House state dinner 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. 
 
 
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.