New Democrat Coalition Vice-Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) late last week said there is a “50-50” chance that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will come up for a vote in a potential lame-duck session of Congress this year due to an unprecedented loss of support for free trade in both parties and the possibility that Republicans will oppose a lame-duck session.
[Daily News| May 09, 2016 |Inside US Trade]
There are “elements” of the Republican party that are seeking to avert a lame-duck session in hopes of avoiding a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, he said. A group of 93 conservative activists and leaders on April 14 sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to refrain from scheduling a lame-duck session of Congress partially because it could lead to the passage of TPP.
Support for free trade has “reached the point, maybe a tipping point, where the consensus that free trade is the way to go has probably evaporated,” Connolly said on May 6 at Sasakawa USA’s Third Annual Security Forum. “And it’s not just the Democratic party, it’s the Republican party as well.
The erosion is real on their side and now you can see it and hear it in their punitive nominee for president who has disavowed and renounced existing trade agreements,” he said. Connolly noted that Republicans have traditionally favored free trade agreements, unlike congressional Democrats.
This change among Republicans endangers the prospects for TPP passage because it undermines the traditional source of support for free trade in Congress, he said. “The coalition that favors free trade in America has broken apart. And, even a fragile coalition to pass something has to be done on a case by case basis,” Connolly said.
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