Obama May Have to Wait Until He is a Private Citizen to Claim Victory on TPP
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be defeated it is sent to Congress for approval next spring or summer, according to a report in the Washington Post.
McConnell added that the accord should not be sent to Capitol Hill until after the 2016 elections or after President Obama leaves office.
The senior senator from Kentucky added that he was undecided on how he would vote on the trade deal. McConnell had previously supported giving the president trade promotion, or fast-track, authority, under which the TPP would be brought to an up-or-down vote in Congress without amendments or reservations.
McConnell has raised questions about TPP provisions related to tobacco companies. Kentucky is one of a major tobacco producer.
Among presidential candidates, Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz oppose the deal, while Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush support it. All of the Democratic candidates have come out against TPP.
The White House had pushed through fast-track authority with support from congressional Republicans. The administration had hoped that the GOP’s strong support for trade promotion would translate into yes votes for the ultimate pact. Obama had also hoped that the sweeping TPP would be one of the bright spots in his eventual presidential legacy.
But if McConnell is right, Obama may have to wait until he is out of office to bask in the glow of that achievement, if then.
Peter Buxbaum is web editor of Global Trade.