House Democrats aiming to slow ‘fast track’ trade proposal

Sen. Ron Wyden and President Barack Obama back the deal, but many liberal lawmakers don’t.

Share this article!


After being ushered through a key Senate committee by Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden, President Barack Obama’s “fast track” trade proposal may get tripped up in the House.

Liberal lawmakers oppose the legislation, arguing it is bad for workers and jobs, the Associated Press reports.

The House dives into the debate Thursday, when the Ways and Means Committee takes up similar fast track legislation. The panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, opposes the Obama-backed version. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed Levin’s alternative bill, even as Republicans warned that the White House must bring a few dozen House Democrats on board.

By contrast, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the Senate Finance Committee’s top Democrat, backs the fast track bill. Few issues divide Democrats more than trade. Obama, like former President Bill Clinton, supports free trade, but many Democratic lawmakers do not. Clinton’s and Obama’s stands — and liberal groups’ opposition — pose a dilemma for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady now seeking the presidency herself. Campaigning this week in New Hampshire, she declined to say whether she supports the Pacific Rim proposal.

“I would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was good for the middle class,” Obama recently said. 

Elizabeth Warren wrote in a blog: “The government doesn’t want you to read this massive new trade agreement. It’s top secret.”

What do you think: Is “Fast Track” trade proposal a good deal for Oregon? Vote here.


Latest from Oregon Business Team