President Obama’s argument that Democrats should trust his vision on trade is falling flat on Capitol Hill.
Democrats — even some of Obama’s closest allies — say it’s not enough for the president to pronounce his trade agenda the most progressive in history.
The lawmakers want assurances that the agreements under negotiation, particularly a huge deal being finalized with Pacific Rim nations, will protect U.S. jobs — assurances many say they simply haven’t gotten.
“I take the president at his word that he believes … the argument he’s making, but I think he’s wrong,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said Wednesday.
“The analysis I’ve done comes to a very different conclusion,” he added. “It’s clear that this will, in the long term, not result in the growth of American jobs and an increase in wages.”
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he’s in talks with administration officials, who have yet to convince him the president’s trade agenda would create jobs in North Carolina.
“I’m still at the place I’ve always been: leaning no,” Butterfield said Wednesday.
“There’s a difference between growing the economy and helping American companies grow the bottom line, and creating jobs,” he added.
Fast track authority legislation in the House is going to be a long, ugly road. House Democrats are overwhelmingly against it, and Orange Julius is going to need to come up with something like 200 Republican votes in order for this to have any chance of passage. Recent history has shown that depending on his skills at whipping votes is a major loser of a bet.