Harry Reid has gone and stabbed Obama in the back over trade, putting the President in an awkward position after he pushed the issue in his State of the Union address. The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Reid told reporters he opposed legislation aimed at smoothing the passage of free-trade agreements, a vital component to negotiating any deal, and pointedly said supporters should back down.“I’m against fast track,” Mr. Reid (D., Nev.) said, using the shorthand term for legislation that prevents overseas trade agreements from being amended during the congressional approval process. “I think everyone would be well-advised just not to push this right now.”
There could not be a clearer sign that the White House has lost control of Capitol Hill Democrats. This move will be read internationally as a major blow to White House authority, and it will significantly diminish interest abroad in all kinds of negotiations with this administration—and not just on trade.It’s also very bad timing from the standpoint of the global economy. Recent stock market declines and emerging market woes have investors jittery. News that U.S. trade policy is a train wreck won’t help.There may well be a majority in the Senate and House for fast track, but Obama would have to rely on GOP votes to get it through.