By Vicki Needham – 09/14/16 11:59 AM EDT
The head of a House trade subcommittee said Wednesday that President Obama must rally members of his own party to pass an expansive Pacific trade agreement in Congress this year.
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, said that passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will need more than the 40 Democrats who may possibly support the expansive deal.
“There are some political realities here that we all know are creating this uphill battle for us,” Reichert said during the Export-Import Council meeting at the White House, the final one of Obama’s presidency.
All 28 Democrats who voted with Republicans more than a year ago to pass trade promotion authority, or fast-track, are on board with the TPP, Reichert said.
But the reality on Capitol Hill is that the Obama administration will need more than 40 Democrats to fill the void left by Republican defections over issues like tobacco, which was removed from the investor-state dispute settlement chapter of the agreement.
“That’s not enough,” Reichert told the council.