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House Speaker John Boehner said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton should be more engaged on the issue of trade promotion authority, which allows the president to more easily negotiate trade deals with other countries.
"There's no reason why President Obama shouldn't have it either, because trade is good for our country. But she can’t sit on the sidelines and let the president swing in the wind here," Boehner said in the interview that aired Sunday.
Leaders of the tax committees in both chambers of Congress agreed on a deal last month that would give the president "fast-track" authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations. The authority bars Congress from adding amendments to the trade deal to delay its passage. Many Democrats on the Hill oppose granting the president trade promotion authority.
The NBC Politics team noted recently that former Secretary of State Clinton faces a political dilemma on trade. She was anti-trade during the 2008 presidential primary elections, even though her husband — former President Bill Clinton — signed the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. However, if she supports free-trade policies, she could alienate liberal voters.
Boehner, R-Ohio, said he thinks Clinton supports trade promotion authority and should be helping the president rally Democrats in Congress.
"Hillary Clinton was for trade promotion authority. Hillary Clinton is for the trade bill with the Asians. She just won't say so," he said. "The president needs her help in order to get Democrats, those in the House and Senate, to get this passed."