The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed trade pact with 12 Asia-Pacific countries
The Obama administration has long argued that TPP is essential to shoring up America's influence in the Asia-Pacific region
President-elect Donald Trump has promised to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and while White House officials maintain they haven’t given up on pushing the trade pact through Congress, leaders on Capitol Hill say they do not plan to bring the deal up for a vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters this week the Senate would not act on the sweeping trade deal with 12 Asia-Pacific nations in the lame-duck session of Congress and House Speaker Paul Ryan has said the GOP does not have the votes to pass it in the House.
“If the next president wants to negotiate a trade agreement, he has the opportunity to do that and to send it up,” McConnell said. “It’s certainly not going to be brought up this year and it’d be up to discussions with the new president as to, you know – I think the President-elect made it pretty clear he was not in favor of the current agreement.”
Since Trump has vowed to kill the trade deal, there is little hope it will come up for a vote once the next Congress is sworn in.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will become the chamber’s top Democrat in January, also told labor leaders Thursday the deal would not be ratified, according to a source familiar with his remarks.
“This happened yesterday morning. He told the AFL Executive Council McConnell told him it wasn’t coming up in the lame duck. Same thing McConnell said publicly,” the source said Friday, referring to the AFL-CIO, a federation of labor organizations.
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The Obama administration has long argued TPP is essential to shoring up America’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region and providing a boost to American businesses.
The topic was expected to come up at a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries in Peru later this month and White House officials have not yet commented on how Trump’s election will change the president’s calculus as he approaches discussions with leaders there.
“President Obama does continue to believe that this is the best opportunity that the Congress has to take advantage of the benefits of a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that cuts taxes – 18,000 taxes that other countries impose on American products,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
“We’ve got a strong case to make with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and we’re going to encourage Republican leaders to take it up and pass it because of the enormous benefits that would accrue to American workers, American businesses, and the broader U.S. economy,” he added.