House Speaker John Boehner says he believes Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama’s free trade push, but “she just won’t say so.”
Boehner’s comments on Sunday morning come as congressional Democratic opposition mounts against a bill that would allow Obama to fast-track a massive Pacific Rim trade pact through Congress without changes. Clinton has been tepid, refusing to wade into the issue in much depth.
“The fact is, the President needs her help in order to get Democrats, those in the House and Senate, to get this passed,” Boehner said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” according to a transcript provided by the show.
The Ohio Republican and other GOP leaders in Congress support Obama’s trade efforts.
But the fast-track bill, known as “trade promotion authority,” is facing fierce resistance from a populist combination of labor unions who fear expanded trade through the Trans-Pacific Partnership would siphon away more manufacturing jobs and tea partiers who are loathe to hand Obama any new power. Firebrand liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has led the opposition.
“Every Democrat leader in the Congress is opposed to the president’s position,” Boehner said.
“Now listen, we’ve got the majority here in the House, in the Senate. But we can’t do this by ourselves,” he said. “Now we’re going to carry the bulk of the votes to get trade promotion authority done for the President.”
He said every President over the last 50 years has had trade promotion authority and there’s “no reason why President Obama shouldn’t have it either, because trade is good for our country.”
That, Boehner said, is where Clinton comes in.
“She can’t sit on the sidelines and let the President swing in the wind here,” he said.