The month of June started out poorly for President Obama who was outflanked by House Democrats concerned about job losses tied to increases in imports. Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House was able to crush the President’s first attempt to pass Trade Promotion Authority, his top legislative priority and a necessary precursor to final negotiations with Asia and Europe on significant new Free Trade Agreements. Then to the President’s rescue came . . .conservative Republicans? Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
The strategy worked and TPA was enacted less than two weeks after its initial defeat. Significant negotiation remains to be done on both proposed free trade agreements: TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 nations centered on Asia, and TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the 28 nations of the European Union. Approval of those Free Trade Agreements still must be approved by Congress after negotiations are successful, so the debate is not over yet.