Minutes before the the House was slated to vote on a top Obama trade agenda item, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for the House to “slow down” consideration of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and signaled she would vote against the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill (TAA), considered essential for TPA passage.
Speaking on the House floor Friday Pelosi thanked Obama and his administration for their efforts on TPA, or fast-track, but called for a slow down to the process.
“I was hopeful from the start of all of this discussion that we could find a path to ‘yes’ for the fast-track legislation that was being put forth,” Pelosi said, calling for the “road to be lengthened.”
Pelosi spoke of the difficulties of families facing financial difficulties and the struggles of the middle class.
“So my concern about all of this. It’s about time. It’s about time. Why are we fast-tracking trade and slow walking the highway bill. It’s about time that people have not recovered from, again, ’08 sufficiently to again have consumer confidence to turn around our consumer economy.”
“Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for America’s workers,” Pelosi said, calling for a “slow down.”
Pelosi pointed out that Congress has rejected fast-track authority in the past and noted that former President George Bush did not have fast-track for a period.
“So while I am a big supporter of TAA, if TAA slows down the fast-track, I am prepared to vote against the TAA because then its defeat, sad to say, is the only way that we will be able to slow down the fast-track,” Pelosi said.
She concluded, “The facts are these: If TAA fails, the fast-track bill is stopped.”
“I just wanted you to know where I was coning from on that,” Pelosi said to applause on the floor. “For these and other reasons I will be voting today to slow down the fast-track to get a better deal for the American people. Bigger paychecks, better infrastructure, help the American people fulfill the American Dream.”
Pelosi’s move came hours after Obama made a plea to House Democrats in the Capitol to support the trade effort.