House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) expressed confidence at the new strategy to grant President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals like the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“We’re going to have Trade Promotion Authority,” Boehner told reporters Thursday during his weekly press availability.
“We’re going to have this vote here pretty soon,” he added. “I’m confident that we’re in a pretty good place and I’m also confident that the Senate considers both the [Trade Promotion Authority] again and Trade Adjustment Assistance as part of the preferences package that it hopefully will be back here as soon as next week so that we can move both of these to the president.”
Last week the House failed to advance the trade authority after House Democrats — led at the last minute by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — voted en masse against the TAA portion of the package as a way to scuttle the entire deal.
When asked Thursday about Pelosi’s last minute turn to “no”, Boehner responded, “I think I’ll just keep my comments to myself with regard to how I feel about the leader’s actions.”
This week, in a bid to reverse the fate of TPA after last week’s defeat, Republican leaders and the White House, unusual allies in support of the fast-track, are pursuing a strategy of decoupling the TPA from the TAA.
“I’ll describe most of what’s gone on the last three weeks as close to bizarre. I don’t think I’ve learned anything from it,” Boehner noted Thursday.
The Republican leader took issue, however, with the idea that his relationship with Obama has not been as strong in the past.
“The President and I — while we may have our disagreements on policy issues — the President and I have enjoyed a very good working relationship and there frankly there’s really never been any kind of an issue,” the Ohio Republican said.
“There are a number issues we’ve worked with the president on and you know trade is another one. Where we find common ground, we’re able to work together and get things accomplished on behalf of the American people,” Boehner added.