U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Tuesday said he’s confident that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be approved by Congress if it’s brought up for a vote.
“It’s really up to the congressional leadership to decide to bring it forward,” Froman said in an interview on CNBC. “If they bring it forward, I think we can get the votes there.”
He said lawmakers are increasingly recognizing industry support for the 12-nation deal, and that he’s noticed “a lot of support for this agreement.”
Both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have said they don’t think the TPP should come up for a vote in the lame-duck session. Without significant changes to the text, they argue, the trade deal doesn’t have sufficient support to pass.
Despite that, Froman and other Obama administration officials continue to make a public push for congressional approval. President Obama last week answered questions about the TPP on the website Quora, and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama “will make a strong case that Congress take up and pass” the trade agreement before he leaves office in January.
“But ultimately they’ll have to make their own decision about whether or not they’re prepared to take it up; we certainly hope they will,” Earnest added, in reference to congressional leaders.