WaPo Endorses Hatch Free-Trade Bill

The Washington Post endorses a bipartisan proposal unveiled Thursday by Sen. Orrin Hatch that would give Pres. Obama more authority to negotiate expanded free trade agreements with Europe and the Pacific Rim. 

Writes the WaPo editorial board:

The devastating impact of the Great Recession lingers on, as the unexpectedly poor Labor Department report on December job growth showed. The unemployment rate shrank three-tenths of a percent, to 6.7 percent, but mostly because 347,000 working-age people left the labor force altogether, while a mere 74,000 got hired. It doesn’t help matters that a disproportionate number of the jobless are long-term unemployed — and that Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits for them on Capitol Hill.

Fortunately, though, a bipartisan group in Congress is pressing ahead with at least one measure that could help the U.S. economy grow and create employment: legislation to strengthen President Obama’s hand in negotiations for expanded free trade with Europe and the Pacific Rim.