President Barack Obama believes he will be given fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement from the House of Representatives.
“I’m pretty confident that we are going to be able to get this done,” Obama said during an interview with KING 5’s Dennis Bounds.
Obama said TPP is “the right thing to do for the American economy and the American people.”
A series of interviews have been held by Obama to gain support for the fast-track measure before it is voted upon in the House of Representatives as soon as next week.
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In addition to news outlets in Seattle, Obama has spoken with TV anchors from El Paso and Dallas in Texas as well as California stations in San Diego and Sacramento. Each of these cities are represented by Democratic lawmakers who support the measure or have not yet decided how they will cast their vote.
Most Republicans are expected to back the measure, but others reportedly do not want to see the fast-track pass as it will grant Obama more power.
Democrats are concerned TPP could hurt the U.S., but Obama said the benefits of breaking down trade barriers would provide an overall benefit to the American economy and workers.
“In an economy of this size, there’s always going to be some dislocations,” Obama told Bounds. “What we’re arguing here is globalization is here to stay … We’ve got to do everything we can to make sure that we are accessing markets the same way they are accessing ours and that there is a level playing field.”
Obama noted that Nike, a company that produces all of its goods overseas, has pledged to create 10,000 new high-skill manufacturing jobs in the U.S. if TPP is enacted.
“Nothing in this agreement is going to induce other companies to move jobs, in fact, what it may do is bring some jobs back,” Obama said.
Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, does not agree with Obama.
“I take the president at his word that he believes … the argument he’s making, but I think he’s wrong,” Cicilline said. “It’s clear that this will, in the long term, not result in the growth of American jobs and an increase in wages.”
Obama currently has the support of 16 House Democrats. The Hill concludes that Republicans would need more than 200 votes to pass the bill.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said the votes for the fast-track are not “quite there yet.”
Photo Source: Screenshot via KING 5