Reichert: President Obama must rally Dems around Pacific trade deal

Reichert: President Obama must rally Dems around Pacific trade deal
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The head of a House trade subcommittee said Wednesday that President Obama must rally members of his own party to pass an expansive Pacific trade agreement in Congress this year.

Rep. Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertLymphedema Treatment Act would provide a commonsense solution to a fixable problem Yoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm MORE (R-Wash.), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, said that passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will need more than the 40 Democrats who may possibly support the expansive deal.

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“There are some political realities here that we all know are creating this uphill battle for us,” Reichert said during the Export-Import Council meeting at the White House, the final one of Obama’s presidency.

All 28 Democrats who voted with Republicans more than a year ago to pass trade promotion authority, or fast-track, are on board with the TPP, Reichert said.

But the reality on Capitol Hill is that the Obama administration will need more than 40 Democrats to fill the void left by Republican defections over issues like tobacco, which was removed from the investor-state dispute settlement chapter of the agreement. 

"That’s not enough,” Reichert told the council.

“Both parties, both sides, I know we try to stay nonpolitical in this room, but the reality is there’s a lot of political work to do up on the Hill to not only educate members but to help them overcome the issues they are experiencing and getting feedback from in their own districts,” he said. 

The president is urging Congress to pass the deal before he leaves office. 

Froman told the council that he is confident the administration and congressional leaders can resolve their differences on significant issues like patent protections for high-tech medicines and pass the massive agreement this year. 

“We’re starting to come to a place where we might find a pathway forward,” Reichert said about a solution to the biologics issue. 

Reichert asked the council's business leaders to help persuade labor unions to back the agreement. 

"I would ask if this council would have any influence on any of those unions to use that to educate those folks on the benefits to their jobs, especially longshoremen who obviously have a huge role to play in our trade economy," he said.

But unions like the AFL-CIO are running vigorous campaigns against the TPP agreement, which they call a corporate power grab that hurts U.S. workers. 

In fact, anti-TPP forces — about 90 organizations including the AFL-CIO — held a call-in to congressional offices on Wednesday, urging lawmakers to reject a lame-duck vote on the TPP. 

They are focusing many of their calls to those 28 House Democrats who backed fast-track, which lets the TPP go through Congress without amendment. 

Progressive groups have called on Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump rally: 'The time has come again' to fight for democracy Trump blasts minority Democrats, rally crowd chants 'send her back' The Memo: Democrats debate Trump response – 'Being righteous and losing sucks' MORE to intensify her opposition to a vote on the TPP in the lame-duck session after the November elections. 

Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE also is opposed to the Pacific trade deal and has said if elected he would pull the United States out of the agreement.