Washington D.C. — The U.S. House has voted down a precursor bill, which was considered an essential first step towards passing President Barack Obama’s Trade Promotions Authority (TPA) or “fast-track” bill.
The TPA would allow the President to negotiate trade deals after which Congress, without any changes, would have to either approve or reject the agreement. Obama has been working on a major deal with 11 Pacific Area nations. Today’s vote on the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill, which would provide aid to US workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade, failed to pass by a vote of 302 to 126. Mother Lode Congressman Tom McClintock spoke out in favor of the bill as he is a supporter of the interconnected TPA or fast-track bill. He made this statement on the House floor before the defeat of the adjustment assistance bill. “TPA tells world markets America is back. This is not some new power, it just restores the same negotiating process that has served us well since the 1930’s.”
Speaking out before she voted against the TAA bill today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said, “Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for America’s workers. So while I’m a big supporter of TAA, if TAA slows down the fast-track, I am prepared to vote against TAA, because then its defeat, sad to say, is the only way we will be able to slow down the fast-track.”
In a statement released by Americans for Limited Government, its president, Rick Manning blasted Republicans that voted for TAA stating, “It is almost incomprehensible that 86 House Republicans were so desperate to make an Obamatrade deal that they voted to increase taxes to pay off big labor — all to make Obamatrade more palatable to Democrats. No deal was better than a bad deal, and yet these 86 Republicans decided the trade bill was more important than increasing their constituents’ taxes to make payments to labor unions.”
Shortly after the failure of the TAA bill, the House voted in favor of the fast-track bill 219 to 211. However, both measures needed to pass in order to move the trade package forward. Deals are already in the works to rework the TAA bill for another vote.