Despite last minute pressure from President Obama this morning, Democratic lawmakers voted down Trade Adjustment Assistance, part of the package of bills necessary to advance Trade Promotion Authority, which authorizes the administration to move forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.
Democrats voted against TAA, a measure long supported by liberals to provide job training and other assistance to workers negatively impacted by foreign trade, as a legislative maneuver to derail the effort to pass TPA. Both bills must be passed together so that they may be merged with the Senate version and sent to the president’s desk.
“If TAA slows down the fast track, I’m prepared to vote against TAA,” said Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The majority of Democrats joined a number of House Republicans to sink the package. The roll call showed it going down 126-302.
“Today the allegedly unstoppable momentum of the White House, GOP leadership and corporate coalition pushing Fast Track to grease the path for adoption of the almost-completed, controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal just hit the immovable object called transpartisan grassroots democracy,” Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizens’ Global Trade Watch, said in a statement.
After TAA failed, Republicans quickly brought up a standalone trade promotion authority bill. The measure passed by a two-vote margin. But observers note the vote was a test to see where members stand. For a standalone trade promotion bill to advance on its own, the Senate would have to take up the entire package again.
House Republican leaders have scheduled another vote for TAA on Tuesday. Speaker of the House John Boehner and Obama therefore have four days to persuade members of their parties to swallow their objections to TAA and TPA, respectively.
(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)