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Trade Promotion Authority Bill Stalls in House

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, June 12, 2015

Despite President Obama's attempts to whip Democrat votes, the trade package that would grant him fast-track authority to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement failed this afternoon, after the House voted down the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) portion by a margin of 126-302. The package, which already passed the Senate in May, required the passage of both TAA and the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) measures in order to make it to the President's desk. Democrats had expressed disapproval with the drafted TAA plan, taking the stance that the financial assistance for workers was not substantial enough to offset the potential job losses resulting from TPP.  Due to his party's resistance to the overall trade package, President Obama personally made the plea for votes during a Hill visit this morning.  When Minority Leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), announced her intention to vote down the measures it was clear the President's visit had little impact on his Caucus.

Following the TAA vote, the Republicans decided to vote on the TPA portion in a symbolic gesture of support for the trade package. The TPA portion was agreed to by a vote of 219-211. It is probable the House will vote on TAA again next week, in hopes that over the weekend enough votes can be whipped to enact passage of the full deal. Should the vote on TAA fail again, the Republicans have expressed confidence they can pass TPA as a freestanding measure.  It remains to be seen whether the House will be able to follow the lead of the Senate and pass this important measure that will allow for continued development of international trade agreements.

Tags:  Capitol Hill  congress  legislation  politics  president  tpa  tpp  trade 

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