Some people have talked about the issue being dead and buried, but the meeting shows that Obama really, truly wants to get this done, said an aide to a House proponent of climate change legislation.
The aide said House lawmakers arent frustrated that Obama hasnt been out front on the issue because they believe he has been committed to the issue all along and just sidelined by health care and emergency matters.
Obama is definitely scoring points with liberal Democrats on the trade front, a major contrast to where he stood with them a year ago.
Between sending U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to meet with House Democrats to find common ground on trade policies and then announcing a deal with Canada allowing U.S. businesses to bid on Canadian government procurement and vice versa, Obama has come a long way since angering liberals last year after signaling an interest in advancing leftover trade deals from the Bush administration.
On Wednesday, Obama dispatched Kirk to the House to basically be a punching bag on trade, and in doing so, he allayed liberal concerns about free trade, said one aide to a Democrat active on the trade front. Liberals are definitely feeling happier.
The aide also applauded Obama for putting a big focus on making sure Members feel good about trade negotiations that will take place next week in a transpacific economic trade conference in Asia.
Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), chairman of the House Trade Working Group, said the meeting with Kirk was an encouraging sign that this administration is committed to consulting with Congress on their trade agenda.
And Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), also in the meeting, said their exchange was very positive.
Kirk left the meeting with glowing remarks. He vowed in a statement to continue to regularly consult with House and Senate lawmakers about trade policies.
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