(New York Times) – WASHINGTON — About a week ago, Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, a passionate champion for the poor in New Orleans and the lone Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, received a phone call from President Obama, pleading for his vote to enhance the president’s trade negotiation powers.
Mr. Obama did not get very far.
“I represent a trade district,” the congressman said. “I could very well vote for this. Problem is, I don’t want to.”
That is a problem for the president. In recent days, he has been personally calling House Democrats, leaning particularly hard on the 45 House members in the Congressional Black Caucus, like Mr. Richmond, whom he hopes in the end can be persuaded to side with him. The pitch is one he has repeated to all audiences: Every modern president but Richard Nixon has had the congressionally given power to negotiate trade deals that cannot be amended or filibustered.
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“We’re not quite there, but we’re getting close,” said Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. At a hearing, he used a wedge of cheese to point out barriers to United States dairy exports.
Obama’s Trade Deal Faces Bipartisan Peril in the HouseMAY 31, 2015
Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, forged a rare alliance with President Obama to push the trade legislation.
Senate Vote Is a Victory for Obama on Trade, but a Tougher Test AwaitsMAY 22, 2015
A container wharf in Tokyo.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal: What It Would MeanMAY 11, 2015
Workers making shoes in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. About a third of the workers for Nike’s overseas contractors are in Vietnam.
Obama Chooses Nike Headquarters to Make His Pitch on TradeMAY 7, 2015
His pro-trade emissary to the caucus, Representative Gregory Meeks, Democrat of New York, makes it more biting: Denying the first African-American president that same authority smacks of bias, especially when opposition is rising in the Republican Party’s Tea Party wing.
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