- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Obama administration said Tuesday it is the responsibility of House Speaker John Boehner to push trade promotion authority through his chamber, rejecting the notion that President Obama needs other high-profile Democrats such as Hillary Clinton to help nudge the legislation across the finish line.

Mr. Boehner on Sunday said Mrs. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, must come out in favor of trade promotion authority to help get skeptical Democrats on board. The White House shot back that it is up to Mr. Boehner, not Mrs. Clinton, to finish the job.

“It is the responsibility of the speaker of the House to do his job and pull together the votes he needs to advance his agenda,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

Mr. Obama is pressing Congress to grant him the authority to negotiate trade deals and then submit them to Congress for an up-or-down vote, rather than allow lawmakers to alter the agreements. Such authority would allow Mr. Obama to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal with nearly a dozen Pacific Rim nations.

Mrs. Clinton largely has remanded mum on the trade debate. Mr. Boehner argues her stamp of approval may be enough to sway some Democrats who currently oppose trade authority.

“Hillary Clinton was for trade promotion authority. Hillary Clinton is for the trade bill with the Asians. She just won’t say so. The fact is the president needs her help to get Democratic votes in the House and Senate to get this passed,” Mr. Boehner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday. “She can’t sit on the sidelines and let the president swing in the wind here.”

Mr. Boehner’s office also hinted that Mrs. Clinton could do a better job of persuading Democrats.

“This White House has failed to convince a single Democrat leader in Congress to stand with the president on trade. If Hillary Clinton can do a better job of helping get Democrats to join with Republicans to pass pro-growth trade agreements, the president ought to get her on the phone right now,” said Cory Fritz, spokesman for the speaker.

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