Obama, fellow Dems are at odds on big trade bills

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama wants to put major emerging trade deals with Europe and Asia on a "fast track" to congressional passage. But with midterm elections looming, many fellow Democrats are working to sidetrack them instead.

The president finds himself in the rare position of having Republican House Speaker John Boehner as an ally and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi as foes.

If ratified, the two proposals — the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Trade and Investment Partnerships — would create the largest free-trade zone in the world, covering roughly half of all global trade.

But many Democratic incumbents are parting ways with Obama, concerned about a loss of jobs important to labor unions in this election year — and fearful of drawing primary-election opposition.