House Republicans have been trying to gather votes for weeks, but they remain at least 20 supporters short of the number needed to pass a bill that would give President Obama fast track trade authority.
According to Politico:
Congressional sources say that fewer than 20 House Democrats currently back giving President Barack Obama increased powers to cut trade deals — a top priority of the White House and the business lobby. And with Senate Democrats vowing to stall consideration of Obama’s request for fast-track trade authority possibly for weeks, Republicans in both chambers face a high hurdle to get the measure through Congress.
Nonetheless, the Senate is expected to eventually approve the so-called trade promotion authority bill — which would allow Obama to submit unamendable trade deals to Congress for up-or-down votes — whenever it comes up for a final vote. The bigger drama may turn out to be in the House, where the overwhelming majority of Democrats and a large contingent of Republicans oppose the measure.
Passage of the bill there will put pressure on House GOP leadership to schedule a quick vote, even though congressional sources predict supporters in the House need at least 20 more votes to pass the legislation.
At least 60 House Republicans are expected to vote against the TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) bill. Boehner and President Obama would need at least 30 House Democrats to negate the Republican opposition, and so far, they are far short of their goal.
Liberals are solid in their opposition to the bill, and they are being joined by Republicans who don’t want to give the President any additional executive authority.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is urging his Democrats to block consideration of the bill until after NSA and transportation bills are dealt with. If Reid is successful tomorrow, it will give TPA and TPP opponents an additional month to mobilize support.
What is clear is that the opposition to TPP remains solidly unified. It is looking like Boehner, McConnell, and Obama are in for a long and difficult fight over TPP.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association