WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama met with mayors and owners of small businesses at the White House on Wednesday to highlight the benefits of trade on a broad swath of the economy.
Participants included Mayors Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Bob Buckhorn of Tampa, Florida, as well as nine small-business owners from across the country. The meeting was part of Obama's push for trade policies that face opposition within the Democratic Party.
Obama wants "fast track" authority from Congress to negotiate trade deals that Congress can only approve or reject, but not amend. One of those agreements, called the Trans Pacific Partnership, would ease trade barriers among 12 Pacific Rim nations. The Obama administration is also hoping to conclude a trade deal with Europe.
Republicans mostly support the president's trade plans, but a majority of Democrats fear trade deals could send jobs overseas. Labor unions and environmental groups are among the biggest opponents.
"This is not just the Boeings and the General Electrics, but it's also small businesses and medium-sized businesses directly benefiting," Obama said of expanded commerce. "I want to make sure that that story gets told."