House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended her vote on a White-House backed trade package that Democrats derailed in the House last week, saying her fiery speech on the floor simply showed "concern of the American people."
"That's just not fair," Pelosi said Tuesday in a CNBC interview, addressing reports that she had "knifed" Mr. Obama with her vote. "What you saw on the floor on Friday was an expression of concern of the American people. We are representatives. That is our title, and that is our job description. These are our constituents."
Just before a vote in the House began, the Democratic leader had vowed to "slow down the fast track to get a better deal for the American people."
That promise secured the trade package's defeat in the House last week, even after Mr. Obama lobbied hard to convince Democrats of the need to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which allows the administration to "fast-track" international trade deals through Congress with an up-or-down vote. Democrats voted down a crucial part of the bill -- trade adjustment assistance (TAA) legislation, which would provide aid to workers who lose their jobs because of international trade deals -- in order to derail the TPA bill.
"I've not been a big supporter of fast track," the California Democrat said in Tuesday's interview. "I don't think it's even necessary. It's a convenience for the administration. It's an advantage for the business community. But it's a hardship for workers, because it just isn't fair."
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The House Minority leader assured viewers that she had confidence in Mr. Obama on his trade dealings, but she still remained wary of fast-track authority and what it could mean for the various trade agreements currently being negotiated by the administration, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"I certainly trust the president, and I think all of our members trust the president," Pelosi said. "We disagree with the president on that because this TPP has not even been completed. And people can reserve the right to take a look at that when we see it."
The California Democrat also fired back at critics -- particularly those on the other side of the aisle -- who saw last week's trade vote as proof positive that the president's party was in disarray.
"The Republicans are projecting their own dysfunction on us," Pelosi added. "They wouldn't know a unified party if they saw one, except the rubber stamp that they have when they have a Republican president."
Congressional Republican leaders, meanwhile are trying to rescuethe trade deal and at this point are reportedly considering splitting the stalled bill into two parts and sending them to the president separately. Under this plan, Republicans - would provide the votes for TPA, and Democrats would come up with the votes for TAA.