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White House Gives Moderate Democrats Extra Attention on Free Trade

Posted March 09, 2015

Under International Trade Issues

(Alex Brown – National Journal)

With the status of President Obama’s request for trade-promotion authority still murky on Capitol Hill, the White House is targeting a group of moderate House Democrats in hopes of finding support for the bill.

Trade promotion, also known as fast-track, has long been an object of skepticism among Democratic representatives; only 29 of them backed President Bill Clinton’s push for the measure in 1998. This time around, much of the caucus has stayed in wait-and-see mode on the proposal, which would set parameters on trade deals negotiated by the White House but restrict congressional input on their passage to an up-or-down vote.

In recent days, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman have been pressing lawmakers on the deal, and Froman was joined by Jeff Zients, Obama’s top economic adviser, to make the case at Tuesday’s meeting of the House Democratic Caucus. Click here to read more.