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 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, Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewBipartisan bill would force Treasury to put Tubman on bill Top conservative rails against ‘clean’ debt limit increase Trump mocked Obama for three chiefs of staff in three years MORE, Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Dave ReichertDavid ReichertJuan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering GOP worries as state Dems outperform in special elections Targeted Republicans push back on retirement speculation MORE (R-Wash.), Ron KindRon KindDemocratic rep calls on Wisconsin governor to expand Medicaid Congress should prioritize small farmers and taxpayers over Big Ag Why Trump is fighting Canada on softwood lumber and dairy MORE (D-Wis.), Gerry ConnollyGerry ConnollyBipartisan pair wants commission to oversee Iran deal Dem lawmaker warns of 'political and moral limitations’ to working with Trump Dems ready to deal with Trump — but it's complicated MORE (D-Va.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThis week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Lift the Jones Act and similar restrictions for humanitarian crises Overnight Tech: White House unveils tech education initiative | Bannon reportedly sought to spy on Facebook | Uber CEO to appeal London ban | John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger 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 Sue PritzkerTrump transportation chief to join Biden for jobs event DeVos should ‘persist’ despite liberal opposition Indiana teachers hold sit-in to demand Young recuse himself from DeVos vote 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 Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE (Ohio), 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 (Ky.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman 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 (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.