(WASHINGTON) — President Obama used unusually blunt rhetoric on Friday regarding the fierce opposition from his own party in Congress to the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“Being opposed to this new trade agreement is essentially a ratification of the status quo, where a lot of folks are selling here but we’re not selling there,” Obama said at a bilateral meeting with the Italian Prime Minister.
The president pointed to Japan, a negotiator in the agreement, and the fact that while DC’s streets are flooded with Japanese vehicles you’d be hard pressed to find a Chrysler in Tokyo.
“There’s going to be a set of democratic senators and house members who traditionally have just, on principle, opposed trade because the unions have just on principle, regardless of what the provisions are, have opposed trade. And then there are others like me who believe we cannot stop a global economy at our shores,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re writing the rules so that we have a level playing field.”
The president called the TPP’s financial and environmental protections the “most progressive agreement” in trade history and that the trade promotion authority he seeks in Congress to pass it would afford him the same privilege enjoyed “every president in the post-war era, which the exception of Richard Nixon, has received.”
The president also lashed out against Congress for the lack of progress on Lynch’s confirmation, what he called a “crazy situation” and “embarrassing,” particularly in light recent bipartisan cooperation on other hot button issues, like the TPP.
“There’s no reason for it,” Obama said, after noting she had already twice been confirmed by the same body for previous jobs. “Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate on an issue that’s completely unrelated to her.”
“There are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It’s gone too far. Enough. Enough,” he said.
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