The TPP is facing stiff opposition from many Democrats and unexpected resistance from Republicans. One Republican leadership aide said TPP needs a long, thorough review by Congress, calling it a “complicated, lengthy deal.” Many farm lobby groups have come out in support, but other business groups are still mulling the fine print. The ability of business groups to reach consensus on the agreement has been made more difficult as tobacco, pharmaceutical, automobile and financial services firms have expressed disappointment with the outcome on certain provisions.
“Our efforts in reviewing the TPP language had just begun a few weeks ago and it’s quite a complicated document, so it’s going to take some additional review and I imagine we’ll work right up to the 90-day period,” said Rep. Dave Reichart, Ways & Means Trade SubCommittee Chairman.
Reichert says determining whether the Trans-Pacific Partnership meets all of the requirements laid out in trade promotion authority will be the top priority of the Ways and Means trade subcommittee under his new leadership. The group is on the clock. When President Barack Obama notified Congress Nov 5 of his intention to sign the agreement, that gave lawmakers 90 days to review the deal.
Although many farm lobby groups have come out in support, business groups are still mulling the fine print. New House Speaker Paul Ryan, a trade supporter, has yet to declare his view.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce appears poised to move closer to taking a position on TPP when its international policy committee meets Nov 30. Business organizations have been taking their time to mull over the text of the TPP. The Chamber reserved judgment on the deal when talks concluded last month and, once the text was released last week, said member companies would be “poring over the agreement.”
The board of the National Foreign Trade Council, which includes companies from each of those sectors, met Tuesday but was unable to reach a decision on the agreement. “Most of the companies have not finished reviewing the document,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch, who added that the board expressed a strong preference to reach consensus on the deal.
New House Speaker Paul Ryan, a trade supporter, former Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, was a key leader in the TPA legislation, but has yet to declare his view on TPP.
A veteran Senate Republican aide, who asked not to be identified, said Republican leaders intend to shelve the deal until after the November 2016 presidential election, which would dash administration hopes of a vote in the first half of next year.
The Republican aide said much of the Senate Republican rank and file “is not supportive of the agreement.”
“I doubt seriously that we’re going to get that resolved by 2016,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch told Reuters. “Nobody wants to do it in the lame duck either so it will probably carry over” into 2017.
Hatch previously had said it would be difficult to bring TPP to a vote in Congress during the 2016 election year. Congressional aides’ comments suggested Hatch’s sentiment was widely held.
With few Democrats in the House expected to vote for TPP, Obama has been relying on Republicans, who control both the Senate and the House of Representatives, to provide the votes needed for approval.