Earnest: Failure To Fast-Track Trade Deal A "Procedural Snafu"

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On Wednesday's broadcast of Morning Joe, MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest why President Obama met with supporters of the Trans-Pacific Trade (TPP) deal but not with the opposition.

While Earnest admitted the failure of passing a bill to fast-track the trade deal was a "procedural snafu," he said it's not worth inviting Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to the White House because they are opponents.

"We will work through this procedural snafu that the Senate hit yesterday and get on with the bills so these Democrats who met with the president yesterday can actually cast their vote in favor of the trade promotion authority," Earnest told the Morning Joe crew.

"They're not going to change their vote," Earnest said. "The fact is these are Democrats who agree with the president that we need to advance the trade legislation and so the president sat down to meet with them to figure out exactly how to do that."

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC: Josh, yesterday, I was looking at a list of United States Senators who came down to the White House to meet with the president over the trade bill. The aforementioned Senator Brown and Senator Warren have points of difficulty with the existing trade bill. And I'm wondering just in terms of getting along and moving everything forward and everybody on the same page. Why weren't Senators Brown and Warren included in a meeting like this?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Mike, that's a good question. The people that the president met yesterday here at the White House were Democrats who have previously supported this trade promotion authority legislation. They have supported this idea Congress should give the president the authority he needs to complete this trade agreement and the authority that he needs to enforce it and what we basically want to do is we will work through this procedural snafu that the Senate hit yesterday and get on with the bills so these Democrats who met with the president yesterday can actually cast their vote in favor of the trade promotion authority. It's already well known Senator Brown and Senator Warren are Senators who don't support the bill. And that's fine. They are certainly entitled to their view. We have a disagreement with them about that.

BARNICLE: So why not have them down and schmooze them a little.

EARNEST: Well, because they're not going to change their vote, Mike. The fact is these are Democrats who agree with the president that we need to advance the trade legislation and so the president sat down to meet with them to figure out exactly how to do that.

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