Vice President Joe Biden said that “our only real shot” of Congress approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a vote during the upcoming lame duck session.
Biden made the remarks on Wednesday at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, while conceding the agreement has a “less than even chance” of passage.
“Sometimes when there’s no election to face and people are leaving and others who are staying, they may see the wisdom of TPP,” said Biden, according to Reuters.
One consideration might involve post-Congressional employment, for ousted and retiring legislators. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, there are currently 431 former US lawmakers now working as lobbyists.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last month that the TPP won’t get a vote, while President Obama is still in the White House.
“But it will still be around. It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration. So, I hope America will stay in the trade business,” he said.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), meanwhile, said that TPP would not get enough votes to pass.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also said on Wednesday that the agreement wouldn’t be considered during the lame duck session — the time between the election and the next president’s inauguration.
Both major presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are on the record opposing the agreement.
Clinton, however, touted it while serving as President Obama’s Secretary of State, and she has supported free trade agreements on numerous occasions throughout her career, raising doubts about the credibility of her opposition.
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton — who has been touted by the candidate as a potential economic adviser in her White House — said on Wednesday that he understands the “geopolitical rationale” for the TPP. He did not, however, say that he supports the agreement.