President Obama hosts lawmakers for a picnic

Congressional picnic

US President Barack Obama hosted members of Congress for the congressional picnic on Wednesday amid a fierce trade debate on Capitol Hill.

The annual event, which includes a barbecue, music and outdoor games took place under cloudy skies on the South Lawn of the White House.

Food was set up buffet-style on tables covered in red, white, or blue tablecloths while the U.S. Marine Band entertained the crowd.

In brief remarks, Obama addressed the tension of the trade debate without directly mentioning it.

“Obviously, democracy can be contentious. There are times where people have deep, principled disagreements. But I hope that events like today remind us that ultimately we’re all on the same team — and that’s the American team,” Obama said.

The U.S. House of Representatives plans to bring legislation central to President Barack Obama’s Pacific Rim trade agreement back to the floor for debate on Thursday, giving lawmakers a chance to deal with it in a different format.

After a major setback last week, a measure that would give Obama “fast-track” authority over his 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would be considered again by the House, under the plan hatched by Republican leaders.

If the strategy succeeds in the House, the Senate would also have to approve the legislation.

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Story By Koome Kimonye
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