Reid opposes Obama on free-trade deals

Jan. 29, 2014 at 10:16 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it clear Wednesday he and President Obama aren't joined at the hip when it comes to pending free-trade legislation.

The Nevada Democrat said he is against efforts to send Pacific Rim and European Union free-trade pacts sailing through Congress with limited debate and no amendments, Washington publication Politico reported.

He said he has told the White House and other key players, such as outgoing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and his replacement, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

"Everyone knows how I feel about this," Reid said just off the Senate floor. "Senator Baucus knows. Senator Wyden knows. The White House knows. Everyone would be well-advised to not push this right now."

A White House official said Reid "has always been clear on his position on this particular issue."

"As the president said last night, he will continue to work to enact bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers and environment and open markets to new goods stamped 'Made in the USA,' and we will not cede this important opportunity for American workers and businesses to our competitors," the official said.

Politico said Reid holds a trump card since he controls the floor schedule, which likely will leave Republicans fuming.

During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama said Democrats and Republicans need to work together "on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets" to U.S. goods.

"Look, China and Europe aren't on standing on the sidelines. Neither should we," Obama said.

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