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GOP Rep. defends Korean trade deal Trump has threatened to end

Rep. Reichert. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

A Republican House leader on trade gave a full-throated defense of the U.S.-Korean trade deal on Wednesday, as anxiety rises in Washington that President Trump is on course to sink the deal. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), who chairs the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, said in his opening remarks at an Asia-Pacific trade hearing: "I am convinced that KORUS, our trade agreement with Korea, has been a great success for both the United States and Korea."

Why this matters: Only Congress has the constitutional authority to slow — or stop — Trump from tearing up trade deals. (It's the subject of hot legal debate whether Congress can prevent the president from withdrawing unilaterally.) Regardless: members like Reichert will be crucial defenders of these deals as Trump and his top negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, continue down a path that many believe ends with the destruction of two major agreements — KORUS and NAFTA.