During his press conference today, President Obama urged Congress to pass three trade deals with South Korea, Columbia and Panama, saying these agreements would help create jobs.
“I think these trade deals will be important,” said Obama, when he was asked what the government could do to encourage job creation. “The reason I want to get these trade deals done is because you see a whole bunch of Korean cars here in the United States and you don’t see any American cars in Korea.”
These deals — which actually were inked during the Bush administration — are quite promising. But for all of the president’s urgency, you’d never guess he (and Senate Democrats) have been the ones holding up them for months. In fact, one of the reasons why lawmakers haven’t approved the trade agreements yet is because Obama only sent them to Congress yesterday.
So why the delay? Apparently it was because Obama refused to go forward with the deals unless Republicans agreed to tack on an unrelated and exorbitantly-priced worker-retraining program to the legislation. Despite the GOP’s reluctance over the price tag, the stalemate was finally broken yesterday, and the program will be included in the legislation.
So all of Obama’s eagerness to finish these trade agreements might have been more appropriate months ago, when he was the one holding up the job-creating legislation.