By VICKI NEEDHAM and KEVIN CIRILLI | 3/18/15 08:34 PM EDT | Source: THE HILL
Democratic critics rebuff latest White House trade overture
The Obama administration said Wednesday it would give Congress more access to the text of a massive Asia-Pacific trade pact, even as a group of House Democrats renewed vows to block the president’s agenda over “a lot of unanswered questions” about the deal.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced the changes in a meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill. He said the new policy makes the full negotiating text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) available to members, allows them to bring a staffer to review it, and provides summaries by chapter, an administration official told The Hill.
“The Obama administration is committed to maximizing the transparency of U.S. trade negotiations consistent with negotiating the best possible agreement for the American people,” Froman said.
“Today, working directly with Congress we have taken unprecedented additional measures to help members fully understand the benefits we are working to bring home for American workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers,” he said.
The announcement comes at a crucial stage. Many House Democrats are at odds with the White House over President Obama’s trade agenda and in particular his bid for expanded “fast-track” powers to negotiate trade deals.