Official White House photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama signed two trade bills into law Monday, a victory for the president who faced embarrassing setbacks by members of his own party opposed to the measures.
“I think it’s fair to say that getting these bills through Congress has not been easy,” Obama said to laughter. “They’ve been declared dead more than once. They have inspired long and passionate debates and that’s entirely appropriate for our democracy. That’s how this country’s supposed to work. We’re supposed to make sure that we air our differences and then ultimately Congress works its will, especially on issues that inspire strongly held feelings on both sides.”
“This is a good day,” the president said. “I’m very confident that we’re going to be able to say at the end of the day that the trade agreements that come under this authorization are going to be improve the system of trade that we have right now and that’s a good thing.”
The bills give Obama “fast track authority” to secure a Pacific trade deal as well as provides assistance to workers. The president thanked his unlikely allies — House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — for working with him on the legislation.
As he signed the two bills, Obama seemed to relish the moment after spending weeks battling with members of his own party over the legislation.
“This is so much fun we should do it again,” he said.
“No thank you,” one of the men standing behind the president said.
“Well maybe not this particular piece of legislation,” Obama responded. “I do like signing bills though.”
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