Dem: Obama needs 'more elbow grease' for trade vote
A House Democratic lawmaker tells The Hill that President Obama needs to get more involved to win Democratic votes for fast-track trade authority.
"I think the President needs to do a lot more than what he's doing now. I don’t think he’s doing enough, to be quite honest," moderate Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said in an interview with The Hill. "He sees this as a very important issue, but I think he needs to put a little more elbow grease into this work."
House GOP leaders and the Obama administration are whipping up votes to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) — a measure that was approved in the Senate 62-37.
The unlikely allies are having a difficult time defending against attacks from labor organizations and liberal advocacy groups opposed to a multinational pan-Pacific trade deal that Congress would not be able to amend if President Obama has fast-track trade authority.
Liberal Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) told The Hill it's unclear how House Democratic leaders will vote when the matter is considered on the floor.
"I’m not certain how they are gonna vote," Lee said in an on-camera interview with The Hill's Molly Hooper, "but I can tell you one thing is they’ve been fair, they’ve been allowing both sides to come in and talk to the experts and to those who have all of the knowledge about this trade deal and other trade deals, so we’ve had a very balanced discussion and debate."
Republicans don't intend to leave the outcome of the vote to chance — a GOP lawmaker whipping up support for the measure says vote-counters want to win 218 GOP votes for TPA.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), however, says her leaders are not there yet.
"We have been working very hard helping our members to understand various pieces, because they get misinformation from a lot of different sources, so we've been working hard to set the facts straight with them and we're getting very very close," Black said.
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