Washington for News Talk Florida -With a vote of 218-208, with 28 Democrats voting for it the House today passed the White House’s trade agenda. By passing the so called fast-track trade legislation it gave President Obama a win in his attempt to complete a sweeping trans-Pacific trade deal.
The measure, known as trade promotion authority, would let Obama submit trade agreements to Congress for an expedited, up-or-down vote without amendments. It would give the authority to Obama and the next president for six years as part of a package that revamps U.S. trade policy into the next decade.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where Republican leaders are seeking to pick up enough support from Democrats to pass the measure and send it to Obama’s desk for his signature.
Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a rare joint statement Wednesday pledging their support to ensure that both the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bills — both widely seen as essential preliminaries to approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — reached the president’s desk.
“We are committed to ensuring both TPA and TAA get votes in the House and Senate and are sent to the president for signature,” the two Republican leaders said.
Meanwhile, Pro-trade Democrats in the Senate are determined to pass both fast-track authority and a program to help workers hurt by trade, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee said on Thursday.
Senator Ron Wyden told Reuters he felt that the votes were there to get the issue passed. “Pro-trade Democrats feel very strongly about making sure that both get done.”
The fast-track bill passed the Senate last month on a vote of 62-37, with the support of 14 Democrats. Wyden said the group was closely involved in talks on how to handle the stand-alone bill, assuming it passes the House.
“We’re examining all of the issues with respect to Senate procedure,” he said, declining to speculate on what would happen if it did not pass.
“It’s our job to make it happen. We’re having almost around the clock meetings to make sure the process is such that it actually will happen.”
There is still an up hill battle in the Senate where President Obama will be doing battle with his own party to get this issue passed.