With Republicans riding a wave of support from the 2016 general elections, they now control both houses of Congress and the presidency. Democrats, who remain the minority in the U.S. Senate, will replace retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada with Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York.
Speaking with the AFL-CIO executive council on Nov. 10, Schumer noted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – championed by President Barack Obama as a cornerstone of his legacy on foreign trade -- is dead on arrival. The labor union cheered the announcement.
“With the TPP, we can rewrite the rules of trade to benefit America’s middle class,” an official statement by the Obama administration said of the proposed deal in September 2015. “Because if we don’t, competitors who don’t share our values, like China, will step in to fill that void. That is why the President’s trade policy is the best tool we have to ensure that our workers, our businesses, and our values are shaping globalization and the 21st century economy, rather than getting left behind.”
"There is no way to fix the TPP," President-elect Donald Trump stated in June 2016, criticizing the deal, reports the Chicago Tribune. "We need bilateral trade deals. We do not need to enter into another massive international agreement that ties us up and binds us down."
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But not all groups have applauded the deal’s demise.
“On balance, [TPP] was viewed by our industry as a win for retailers and our consumers,” David French of the National Retail Federation said, reports The Washington Post.
"We would have liked to get it done before the end of the year,” David Warner, director of communications for the National Pork Producers Council, said of the deal. “The longer we delay, the more likely we lose market share in the Asia-Pacific since other countries are negotiating their own trade deals with nations in the region. We certainly hope the TPP is not dead.”
"I think the president-elect made it pretty clear he was not in favor of the current agreement," Schumer’s counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said. "But he has the latitude because [congressional negotiating authority] is in place through the next administration to negotiate better deals, as I think he would put it, if he chooses to."