Political wrangling has been going on furiously since President Barack Obama's fast-track trade authority went down to defeat six days ago. Now it's been zombie-resurrected for the time being. It's really odd seeing Republicans working with the president to pass anything at all. That should tell you something in of itself.
The House voted to resurrect the centerpiece of President Obama’s trade agenda Thursday, six days after his fellow Democrats dealt him a dramatic setback after a months-long lobbying effort.
Thursday’s 218-to-208 vote to grant Obama “fast track” authority to negotiate trade deals — including the controversial 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership — is a win for the president, but it is not yet a victory.
It is the first in a complicated series of moves to get around a blockade set up by liberal House Democrats against the president’s trade agenda.
It's not a done deal yet, but the wheels are in motion again.
Republicans, working closely with the White House, are executing a new strategy to pass the authority, also known as TPA or "fast track," as well as trade adjustment assistance (TAA), an aid program for displaced American workers.
Now, House Republicans will send the fast track bill back to the Senate, where supporters hope they can muster the 60 votes necessary to pass it as a standalone measure. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pledged to bring trade adjustment assistance back to the floor soon after fast track passes.
The White House is eager to enact TPA because it provides an expedited process to get trade bills through Congress, allowing them only to be approved or rejected, not amended. Obama has made trade a significant focus of his foreign policy legacy in his final months in office.