Obama plans to call Boehner on trade

Obama plans to call Boehner on trade

President Obama will likely speak to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE (R-Ohio) on Monday to find a path forward on a stalled trade package, the White House said. 

Press secretary Josh Earnest said there is “strong, bipartisan support” behind the trade measures even though they were derailed on Friday by a revolt from Democratic lawmakers. The spokesman said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Obama and BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE talked.

"We just have to figure out how to untangle the legislative snafu in the House,” Earnest said. 

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The White House spokesman, though, would not say whether Obama spoke to Democratic lawmakers this weekend to sell them on his trade agenda.

Pressed multiple times to identify calls to lawmakers, Earnest declined to do so. He said White House chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughFormer Obama officials willing to testify on McCabe's behalf: report Trailer shows first look at Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE had spoken to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Election meddling has become the new normal of US diplomacy DC statehood push faces long odds despite record support MORE (R-Ky.) Monday.

House GOP leaders have not yet decided how to move forward on a package to grant fast-track trade powers to Obama and provide assistance to workers displaced by trade. 

The House on Friday approved the fast-track measure but defeated the aid program, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Democrats voted against assistance for workers displaced by trade, a program they have traditionally supported, as a means to defeat the overall package.

Both pieces of legislation needed to be approved to reach Obama's desk.

The president is seeking fast-track power to finalize the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has pitched it as a trade deal that will open up Asian markets to U.S. products while enforcing strong labor and environmental standards. But many members of his party oppose new trade agreements out of concern they will ship American jobs overseas. 

Echoing comments made Monday by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Earnest said it’s critical to move forward quickly to keep up “momentum” for the proposal.

Senior White House officials spent the weekend calling members of the House and Senate to find a way forward, Earnest said. He did not provide specifics about those calls but insisted the White House believes the fast-track package will reach Obama's desk.

We are "confident we will be able to navigate this particular procedural snafu and move it across the finish line," Earnest said.

He also brushed aside suggestions that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats go all out to court young voters for 2020 Pelosi: Whistleblower complaint 'must be addressed immediately' Election meddling has become the new normal of US diplomacy MORE broke with Obama on the trade issue. 

Over the weekend, Clinton urged the president to work with Pelosi to come up with a stronger trade agreement.  

Earnest said Obama’s criteria for judging trade deals is “quite similar” to Clinton’s. 

“She is neither reflexively in favor of trade agreements nor reflexively against trade agreements,” he said. “The overlap in their views is not surprising.”

— This story was updated at 1:58 p.m.