Paul Ryan: Fast-track ‘gaining steam’

Greg Nash

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday that an effort to give President Obama the ability to fast-track trade deals his administration is currently negotiating is moving along.

“We will have the votes. We’re doing very well. We’re gaining a lot of steam and momentum,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

{mosads}Paul, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is the co-author of legislation providing Obama with the so-called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to facilitate the trade deals with Asian and European countries.

The fast-track component would allow Obama to submit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote, limiting debate and the ability for amendments.

Obama has sought to rally Democrats, especially in the House, to support his ambitious trade agenda. Republicans leaders have struggled in the House to get the 217 votes to pass the fast-track legislation.

Ryan argued Sunday that the TPP, a trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, would allow America to have greater influence on labor standards and other issues through trade.

Ryan said that the U.S. has 150 guidelines for labor that are required in every trade agreement, along with other methods to hold nations accountable in labor disputes.

He also noted that the middle class in Asia would reach 3.2 billion by 2030.

“That’s an enormous market for America. And if we want more jobs, better wages, you have to trade,” Ryan said.

The Senate moved beyond a major procedural hurdle last week and is expected to vote on the fast-track agreement soon. In the House, Obama is expected to face even tougher terrain to secure support from liberal Democrats.

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