Pelosi to Japan: Dems want to back Obama on trade

Pelosi to Japan: Dems want to back Obama on trade
© Greg Nash

The House’s top Democrat told Japan’s prime minister on Friday that her members want to support the Obama administration’s trade agenda. 

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (Calif.), who met with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in Tokyo, said she is working to build support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) amid a wealth of concerns from congressional Democrats. 


“All of our members want to be a ‘yes’ but we have some concerns,” she said.  

“We want a road to ‘yes,’ a path to ‘yes,’ with some bumps in the road so far.”

U.S. and Japanese negotiators are trying to make as much progress as possible in their parallel TPP talks before Abe travels to Washington at the end of the month.

Abe is set to address a joint session of Congress on April 29, making him the first-ever Japanese prime minister to do so. 

Congress is haggling over trade promotion authority, also known as fast-track legislation, that would give lawmakers an up-or-down vote on any trade agreement that reaches Capitol Hill.

There is an expectation that a bill could be unveiled when Congress returns from its two-week spring recess. 

Democrats are badly divided over whether to grant Obama the authority.

The 10-member group of House Democrats — and one Republican — is rounding out a five-nation Asian trip that has taken them to two TPP partners, Japan and Vietnam.

Trade advocates argue that the TPP would cement the security and economic partnership between the United States and Japan, as well as Washington's broader long-term commitment to the Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, liberal Democrats and labor unions are waging an aggressive campaign against fast-track and the TPP over concerns about U.S. job losses. 

In a Friday op-ed, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (Utah) said “Republicans in Congress stand ready to work with President Obama and help these negotiations succeed.”

“The president can help us accomplish this critical economic priority by making the case to his fellow Democrats,” he wrote.