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If Obama Wants Trade Deals Passed, Why Won’t He Send Them to Congress?

For months, President Obama has been urging Congress to approve three pending free-trade agreements, which are pretty much the only constructive job-creating proposal he’s recommended so far.

“Right now congress can advance a set of trade agreements that would allow American businesses to sell more of their goods and services to countries in Asia and South America,” Obama said at a press conference back in June.

Last week, the president chose the day after lawmakers left town for August recess to issue a somewhat pointless plea for immediate action: “It’s time Congress finally passed a set of trade deals that would help displaced workers looking for new jobs.”

And campaigning in Michigan yesterday, Obama continued to berate Congress for not passing the deals. “Those trade bills are teed up; they’re ready to go.  Let’s get it done,” he told the crowd.

So with all of Obama’s urgency and badgering, you’d assume that he’s already submitted these agreements to Congress, right? Actually, no:

For the deals to go into effect, the president must officially submit them to Congress for consideration. But Democrats in Congress blocked any possibility of a debate on the agreements until President Barack Obama took office. Now he has refused to send them down Pennsylvania Avenue to Congress.

That was from an op-ed by Sen. John Thune in Politico, who is calling on Obama to “submit the trade agreements for consideration immediately.” The president will likely do so once congress returns from recess in September. But meanwhile, he’s still out on the campaign trail acting as if congress has had the deals sitting in front of them for months.

The agreements already have bipartisan support in the senate, according to both Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid. Of course, that doesn’t mean much until the White House actually submits them.

“This agreement between the Leaders reflects a strong, bipartisan commitment to pass these agreements into law as soon as the President sends them up,” said Michael Brumas, communications director for McConnell. “Senator McConnell has repeatedly called for the President to send these long-pending agreements up, and looks forward to acting on them when Congress returns.”


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