WASHINGTON (UPI) — Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday told trade unions the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is dead in the new Congress, aligning with a key element of President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda for the first 100 days.
The news, cheered by labor unions, means Trump’s call to scrap the TPP will likely happen. The deal was negotiated by the Obama administration and initially enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress before it became a hot-button issue in the campaign. Trump excoriated the agreement, between the United States and several Asian nations, as a job-killer and much of the Republican support for it in Congress evaporated.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told The New York Times there was no chance it would pass the Senate and House Speaker Paul Ryan said he does not plan to bring it up for a vote in his chamber.
Other elements of Trump’s agenda for the first 100 days of his presidency will not enjoy bipartisan support, but have attracted Republicans, including repealing the Affordable Care Act, a Republican campaign promise since the healthcare law’s inception in 2009. McConnell said repealing the law is “pretty high on our agenda” and Trump has pledged to wipe it off the books in the first 100 days of his presidency.
While they have the political path forward to do it by controlling both houses of Congress and the White House come Jan. 20, the practical roadblocks remain in place. The law now provides insurance to 20 million Americans whose policies would become too expensive to afford without the tax credits included in the ACA. The law also has the popular prohibition against insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and allows young people to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
Republicans are also widely expected to move forward with nominating a Supreme Court justice to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, cashing in on a political risk by McConnell to refuse hearings for President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.
Tax cuts are also likely on the agenda. Trump proposed a massive $6.2 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years. Republicans largely agree taxes are too high and have pledged to reduce them.
Other Trump 100-day proposals appear dead on arrival. Most prominent is the congressional non-starter of enacting term limits for lawmakers.
McConnell promised the issue would not be put to a vote.
He also threatened Republicans in Congress would not permit the United States from leaving NATO, the European military alliance, something Trump has suggested is possible unless changes are made requiring other member-nations to pay more for shared defense operations.
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