Pelosi: Fast-track is not necessary
© Greg Nash

Fast-track authority is not necessary for President Obama to negotiate a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade deal, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBrown says Biden's first moves as president should be COVID relief, voting rights Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to positive tests among Pence aides Pelosi dismisses talk of White House compromise on stimulus: They 'keep moving the goal post' MORE (D-Calif.) argued Tuesday.

“I have not been a big supporter of fast-track, I don’t think its even necessary. It’s a convenience for the administration, it’s an advantage for the business community, but it’s a hardship for workers because it just isn’t fair,” she said.

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“It can be completed without it. I have great confidence in the ability of our country to negotiate.”

Fast-track authority allows the president to negotiate a deal and present it to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Obama has argued that the assurance allows him to complete the negotiations, as other countries are hesitant to agree on terms that could be amended by Congress.

Pelosi spoke out Friday joined with the majority of her caucus Friday in voting against Trade Adjustment Assistance, a program intended to help workers who lose their jobs because of trade.  

While the program has long been favored by Democrats, they voted against it in order to prevent passage of the fast-track bill.

Pelosi pushed back on suggestions that she betrayed the president with her opposition to the worker aid bill.

“That’s just not fair,” Pelosi told CNBC’s John Harwood in an interview that aired Tuesday. Harwood asked the Democratic leader whether headlines that claim she “knifed” the president are accurate.  

Pelosi said her vote didn’t reflect any mistrust of the president’s ability to secure a fair deal for workers, but said that members didn’t want to vote without knowing the final language of the TPP.

She told Harwood that the vote to block the president’s fast-track would not weaken the president or the country’s standing in the world.

Pelosi also referenced her Tuesday USA Today op-ed, where she called for a “new paradigm” on trade that includes global summits on the issue. 

"We have conferences on this that and the other, the G-7, the G-8, the G-20, the Gee Whiz,” she said.

“Why are we not talking about how we can have fair trade that lifts everyone up instead of trickle down trade that advantages some and is questionable in terms of its advantages to some.