WASHINGTON — At the grocery store, at church, and at the local Lowe’s hardware store, people stop Rep. Marcia Fudge (D) of Ohio to tell her they support the president, but not the bill to give him one of the things he wants most: the authority to more easily negotiate the largest trade deal in United States history.
This is not the North American Free Trade Agreement, the president says. It includes enforceable labor, environmental, and human rights standards. It’s a job creator that will open new markets to the US. It will act as an economic and strategic counterbalance to China.
Perhaps. But Congresswoman Fudge’s constituents don’t believe it. And so Fudge, who chaired the Congressional Black Caucus in 2014, is against President Obama’s trade agenda.
For a high-priority issue that may come to an edge-of-your-seat vote as early as this week, every vote could matter. No House members are more loyal to Mr. Obama than the black caucus, which makes up about a quarter of House Democrats. That’s why the president and top US officials are lobbying the group mightily on trade.