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Perry says trade deal can wait for the next president
By Ed Tibbetts, Quad-City Times
May. 19, 2015 11:03 pm
DEWITT - Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday it's fine with him if a major trade deal now being debated in Congress would be put off until President Barack Obama leaves office.
The deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, still is being negotiated, but the Senate last week voted to move ahead with fast-track legislation, which is seen as a necessary ingredient to the trade deal's final completion.
At an event here Tuesday morning, Perry praised the idea of free trade and its job creation potential. But he said he had concerns about the transparency of the Trans-Pacific Partnership - and added he didn't like having Obama negotiating it, anyway. 'Until the public and Congress are comfortable that they know what's in this trade agreement, I'm not going to recommend that they sign it. And if we have to wait until there's a new president, that's OK,” he said in answer to a question from a woman in the audience.
Perry is expected to announce a presidential bid next month.
The trade issue has been a political minefield for politicians in both parties. People on the left have been pushing Hillary Clinton to come out against the deal, which is being negotiated with 12 Pacific Rim countries. There also are critics on the right, with some expressing worries that giving the president fast track authority would be ceding too much power to him.
Agriculture and business interests have been pushing for its approval, and Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, voted to move ahead on fast track legislation last week.
Perry, who has been making several stops in Iowa in the days after a big Republican Party fundraising dinner in Des Moines, also touted his executive experience here Tuesday.
Some of prospective rivals for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 are sitting senators, a couple of them in their first term. Perry didn't mention them; instead, he pointed to the president as a cautionary tale for picking somebody with what he called inadequate experience.
'Executive experience really matters,” he said.