Ryan says trade deal short on votes in Congress

Ryan says trade deal short on votes in Congress
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSoaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington Embattled Juul seeks allies in Washington MORE (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that there are not yet enough votes in Congress to pass President Obama's sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal.

Ryan also said lawmakers have a long list of issues on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was completed in October and signed by the United States and 11 other nations last week in New Zealand. 

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"There are enough concerns about this agreement, some that I also have, where I don't see enough support for it right now," Ryan told The Journal Times.

As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan helped shepherd trade promotion authority through Congress last summer, giving lawmakers and up-or-down vote on the agreement without any chance to amend it.

The deal faces opposition from a majority Democrats on Capitol Hill and from presidential candidates in both parties. 

Congressional leaders and supportive business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers are pressing the White House to make changes to the deal that could smooth its passage. But that could require new concessions by other nations.

Provisions on pharmaceuticals and tobacco have provoked the most complaints from lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster Hickenlooper announces Senate bid Trump orders elimination of student loan debt for thousands of disabled veterans MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) have said they want to get the TPP done but that President Obama and his trade team must address their concerns or face the possibility that the deal will stall out on Capitol Hill.

Obama has called on Congress to pass the agreement and along with U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks US trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report MORE has vowed to work with lawmakers to ensure that happens before he leaves office. 

Ryan and McConnell met with the president at the White House last week to discuss trade and other issues facing Congress in the final year of his two-term presidency.