McConnell vows ‘intense scrutiny’ of trade deal

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Monday that Congress will give “intense scrutiny” to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after negotiators reached a historic deal. 

“Serious concerns have been raised on a number of key issues,” McConnell said in a statement. “This deal demands intense scrutiny by Congress and the legislation we passed earlier this year provides us the opportunity to give this agreement that scrutiny.”

{mosads}The Republican leader’s comments came after trade ministers announced that they’ve reached an agreement on the TPP, capping off nearly six years of talks. 

McConnell called the TPP “potentially one of the most significant trade deals in history” and added that lawmakers will have to ensure it “meets the high standards Congress and the American people have demanded.”

Under fast-track trade legislation passed earlier this year, Obama’s trade deals can be passed through Congress with a simple up-or-down vote. Lawmakers also aren’t able to amend the trade agreements.

The administration argued that passing the fast-track bill was key to being able to finalize the TPP, which was being negotiated with 11 other countries.

But critics, including many lawmakers in Congress, argue the TPP will hurt American workers. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasted the deal as “disastrous” saying that “Wall Street and other big corporations have won again.”

The president will need to convince his own party to support the deal. The fast-track trade bill underscored divisions among Democrats, though it marked a rare point of agreement between McConnell and Obama.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who has been critical of the deal, urged the administration to make the terms publicly available. He said that “because these negotiations have been done in secret and without meaningful consultations with Congress, it is hard to say exactly what [the U.S. Trade Representative] has agreed to in Atlanta.”

Tags Mitch McConnell TPP

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