Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us MORE (Ariz.) in the GOP weekly address pressed lawmakers to pass fast-track legislation, empowering President Obama to negotiate trade deals and streamline approval from Congress.

“These trade agreements open markets that have long been protected from American competition,” he said. “Why squander a historic opportunity to sell more American products and know-how and create more high-paying American jobs? That’s crazy.

The fast-track legislation which would help Obama seal the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation trade deal, has become a flashpoint within the Democratic party, pitting the president against progressive lawmakers.


McCain lauded fast track and the trade deal as an important step to keep markets open to American goods.

“If America fails to lead, China will,” he warned.

“If we don't advance the open trading system we've long advocated in Asia, China’s protectionist policies will dominate. That's an unacceptable outcome for our economy, our security and for the values that we hold dear.

McCain criticized progressive Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), who oppose the agreement.

“Americans can't afford to wall itself off from the vast opportunities that lie outside our borders where 95 percent of the world's consumers live,” he said. “But that’s what many Senate Democrats are suggesting we do in their transparent effort to curry favor with labor bosses.”

McCain's comments — the fourth time is as many weeks that the GOP has promoted trade agenda in their weekly address — highlight the rare alliance between congressional Republicans and the Obama administration.

“I don't often quote President Obama,” McCain said. “But it was hard to argue with him when he said the other day that Democratic protectionists were just ‘making stuff up,’ and their arguments didn't ‘stand the test of fact and scrutiny.’”

Supporters of the deal were dealt a loss this week when a preliminary vote to open debate on the fast-track trade bill failed to clear the 60-vote threshold.

The vote was seen as an embarrassing rebuke to Obama from his own party and a day later, senators announced they had reached a deal to start debate, which they did in a Thursday vote.

The upper chamber will consider amendments to the bill next week.