McConnell casts doubt on TPP vote this year

McConnell casts doubt on TPP vote this year
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Biden clarifies any Russian movement into Ukraine 'is an invasion' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday maintained his bleak outlook that a main pillar of President Obama's trade agenda will be considered this year.

McConnell told reporters that the chances are "pretty slim" that a sweeping 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will get a vote in the Senate before the president leaves office, 

ADVERTISEMENT

In the past few months, McConnell has noted that the political environment in the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns has made a push to pass TPP after the November elections increasingly difficult.

With fast-track authority in place for six years, McConnell has said that the TPP deal could get pushed to the next president. 

But supporters of the Pacific trade agreement have acknowledged that an unfinished TPP injects too much uncertainty into the process and could kill the Pacific Rim agreement. 

Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket MORE and Republican Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE are opposed to the trade deal.

Trump has said he would go as far as withdrawing the United States from the TPP if the 11 other countries were unwilling to renegotiate a deal to his liking. 

Clinton, who advocated for the deal as secretary of State, has urged Congress to forego a TPP vote in the lame-duck session. 

Trade also has become a major issue in the Democratic and Republican party platforms.

Clinton rival Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats calls on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Briahna Joy Gray: Last-minute push for voting legislation felt 'perfomative' Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service MORE tried and failed to add language to the Democratic platform formally opposing the TPP. 

Republicans opted to remove any references to the TPP altogether, a major shift for the historically pro-trade party. 

The president and many top officials in the Obama administration are urging Congress to consider the TPP as soon as possible.

McConnell had already said that he wouldn't bring the TPP up for a vote before the November elections because several Republican senators are facing tough reelection campaigns. 

Congressional Republicans also have said they have several major problems with the trade deal from tobacco, financial services and pharmaceutical issues that need to be addressed before deciding whether there is enough support to vote on the TPP this year.