Trade Promotion Authority avoids filibuster

via The New York Times and Senate Hands a Victory to Obama on Trade Pact:

The Senate on Tuesday narrowly voted to end debate on legislation granting President Obama enhanced negotiating powers to complete a major Pacific trade accord, virtually ensuring final passage on Wednesday of Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority in his final years in office.

The procedural decision barely cleared the 60 votes needed — the tally was 60 to 37 — but final passage will need only 51 votes. It was the second time the Senate blocked a filibuster of the so-called trade promotion authority, but this time the bill was shorn of a measure to offer enhanced retraining and education assistance to workers displaced by international trade accords. That measure faces a crucial procedural vote on Wednesday as well.

But Republican leaders — with the White House’s support — found a parliamentary way to corner the Democrats by separating the two pieces of the bill. By Wednesday evening, legislation will most likely be on the president’s desk giving him the power to complete the trade accord, the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, knowing Congress could not amend or filibuster the final agreement. He can sign it whether or not the House passes worker dislocation assistance, which is scheduled to come to a vote on Friday.


Obama has pledged to veto the Trade Promotion Authority bill if it is not accompanied by a Trade Adjustment Assistance bill. The fate of that bill is far from certain though with Boehner whipping the Republican caucus on the TAA vote it seems likely it will pass also.




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