Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: I'm going to give Biden's Supreme Court nominee 'a fair look' Progressive millionaire group backs Cisneros, McBath in first public endorsements Clyburn calls for full-court press on voting rights MORE (R-Ky.) appeared to close the door Thursday on the Senate taking up the Obama administration's signature Asia-Pacific trade deal during what's left of the president's term.
"The current agreement, the Trans-Pacific [Partnership], which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year," McConnell said at the Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast Thursday.
But McConnell said that while the trade agreement won't get approved in its current form, it could pass next year with some changes.
"It will still be around. It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration," he said.
Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' MORE have both come out against the agreement. The trade fight has also spilled over into the battle for the Senate as Republicans defend 24 Senate seats, with vulnerable GOP Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBudowsky: President Biden leads NATO against Russian aggression New Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) coming out against the deal.
McConnell helped spearhead the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) through the Senate last year. The law allows any future trade deal to be fast-tracked through Congress without changes. The Kentucky Republican joked Thursday that passing the TPA was a "rather unusual experience."
"I was aligned with Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCutting through the noise of COVID risk: Real-life consequences of oversimplification Russia-Ukraine conflict threatens U.S. prestige Appeasement doesn't work as American foreign policy MORE against [Sen.] Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSchumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' Democrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters MORE [D-Nev.] and [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.]," he said. "Almost an out-of-body experience, now that I think about it."
Obama has pledged to push the deal until he leaves office, including sending a drafting document to lawmakers earlier this month, but it has lost momentum on Capitol Hill.
McConnell previously said it was unlikely the deal would get a vote, and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.) has said the agreement doesn't have the votes to pass the House. Top Senate Democrats are also vocal opponents.