Obama asks Congressional Black Caucus to support giving him trade authority

Economic Indicators Associated Press

President Barack Obama is appealing to skeptical members of the Congressional Black Caucus to give him "fast track" authority to negotiate trade deals. Members told him they want assurances that future trade agreements provide jobs for U.S. workers.

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The Democratic lawmakers who attended a White House meeting Tuesday said Obama made a case for trade, singling out current negotiations with Asia and Pacific Rim countries. He stressed that without a deal with Asia, China could get an economic upper hand in the region.

Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, said the lawmakers and Obama also discussed changes in the criminal justice system, targeted spending in counties with high poverty rates and initiatives that would reach black Americans who are not benefiting from the economic recovery.