House GOP Resuscitates Obama's Fast Track

But hark, ahead lies the Senate
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 18, 2015 12:00 PM CDT
House GOP Resuscitates Obama's Fast Track
In this June 11, 2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner says he's committed to passing a major trade deal as soon as possible.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The House has revived President Obama's embattled trade agenda, but a potentially tough Senate battle awaits. The House voted 218 to 208 today to grant Obama "fast track" authority to send Congress trade agreements it can reject or ratify but not change. The Republican-driven vote—the breakdown, per Politico was 190 Republicans and 28 Democrats in favor, and 50 Republicans and 158 Democrats against—marks a dramatic turnabout from last week's stunning setback dealt to Obama by House Democrats. This time fast track was separated from another matter that the Democrats had used to scuttle the whole package.

The GOP-controlled Senate could take up the issue next week. John Boehner, who worked with Mitch McConnell and the president this week to revive the measure, today predicted quick passage in the Senate. The bill needs help from about a dozen Democrats, and Nancy Pelosi doesn't sound optimistic, telling Politico, "I don’t see a path right now for TAA." Democrats want assurance that Congress also will renew federal aid for workers displaced by international trade. Unions strongly oppose fast track. Obama says US producers need it. (More trade deal stories.)

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