Trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama won’t be put before Congress until it grapples first with President Barack Obama’s pressing legislative goals, the U.S. commerce secretary said Friday.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said Obama has an ambitious high-priority legislative agenda focusing on health care, financial regulation and alternative energy.
“Trade agreements are going to have to wait,” he said at a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. “Right now, the administration is focused on a very aggressive and very tight legislative agenda.”
Locke did not speculate Friday about when Congress may debate the trade agreement bills.
“Congress is only able to take up issues sequentially; they can’t seem to do it simultaneously,” he said. “Healthcare costs are the absolute No. 1 priority of the administration.” (AP)