Obama: Trade deal "levels the playing field"

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a news conference in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, October 2, 2015.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Last Updated Oct 5, 2015 3:59 PM EDT

President Obama hailed a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Monday, saying it "levels the playing field" for U.S. farmers, ranchers and manufacturers and achieve several other goals for the U.S.

"When more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can't let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment. That's what the agreement reached today in Atlanta will do," the president said in a statement.

The 12 nations involved in the trade deal finished their work Monday morning after a weekend of marathon negotiating sessions in Atlanta. Congress has passed legislation called Trade Promotion Authority that will allow them to give a thumbs up or thumbs down vote on the deal, but not amend it in any way.

Mr. Obama pledged in his statement that Congress and the American people "will have months to read every word" before he signs the deal. But he is in a rare position of having more Republican support than Democratic support among lawmakers.

"More trade means more jobs, better pay, and more opportunities for our workers, farmers, and small businesses. More trade also gives us the opportunity to advance America's leadership around the world," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "Because of recently-enacted Trade Promotion Authority, the American people have the chance to closely review this agreement and Congress must ensure it meets the highest standards before moving forward."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi promised that Democrats "will be shining a bright light on the provisions of TPP and their impact on hard-working families." She said her members will judge the agreement by whether it creates good-paying jobs, increases the paychecks for American families, and "recognizes the fundamental connection between commerce and climate."

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was quick to condemn the deal after it was announced Monday, saying the trade agreement will "hurt consumers and cost American jobs."

"This agreement follows failed trade deals with Mexico, China and other low-wage countries that have cost millions of jobs and shuttered tens of thousands of factories across the United States," Sanders said. "In the Senate, I will do all that I can to defeat this agreement. We need trade policies that benefit American workers and consumers, not just the CEOs of large multi-national corporations."

Hillary Clinton, who praised TPP when she was Mr. Obama's secretary of state, ultimately snubbed Mr. Obama by saying earlier this year that he should have listened Democratic concerns. Clinton said the president should "make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible, and if we don't get it, there should be no deal."

Clinton has not weighed in since the agreement was completed.

Another vocal opponent is Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has described himself as "totally against the trade deal" and suggested the negotiators were incompetent. He has also not weighed in since the agreement was announced.

One potential supporter from the 2016 field is Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who said in a CNBC interview, "I'm generally very much in favor of free trade." He said he'll want to see the details of the agreement before deciding whether to support it, including how it deals with barriers to trade other than tariffs.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.