Obama plans to call Boehner on trade

Obama plans to call Boehner on trade

President Obama will likely speak to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTed Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Rep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa 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 BoehnerTed Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Rep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa 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 McDonoughDemocratic candidates should counter Trump's foreign policy Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation MORE had spoken to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns 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 ClintonBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently 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.