Editor's note: The fast-track authorization passed in one bill, but it was tied to the worker retraining bill, which was rejected 3-1. So yeah, fast track was defeated.
A last ditch effort by President Obama to sway House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to back his efforts to pass his fast-track authority has failed and she finally spoke out against on the House floor:
After weeks of silence, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor Friday against legislation to give President Barack Obama fast-track trade authority and a related bill to provide aid to workers displaced by trade.
“We have an opportunity to slow down,” the California Democrat said. “Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for America’s workers.”
The floor speech by the Democratic leader spelled trouble for President Barack Obama’s bid to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Democrats overwhelmingly oppose giving the president fast-track authority to clinch the deal, but there was some hope among trade proponents that Pelosi might help sway enough Democrats to vote for it to get it over the hump.
Instead, she sided with opponents ahead of a pair of critical votes, an ominous sign for trade proponents. Pelosi said she would vote against a jobs aid bill that is critical to winning needed Democratic votes for fast track.
“Its defeat is the only way we will be able to slow down fast track,” Pelosi said.
In a stunning defeat, the Obama-backed Trade Adjustment Assistance provision was voted down, with the final vote tally coming to 126-302.
On Friday, Obama urged fellow Democrats not to torpedo legislation that would have let him complete global trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. The measure is commonly known as "fast-track" for the powers it bestows on the president.
The measure was tied to a retraining assistance program for workers who lose their jobs as a result of foreign trade. As the New York Times notes, this idea has been popular with Democrats for years, but became toxic once it was attached to Obama's fast-track deal.
They plan to bring it up for another vote on Tuesday, but Hill insiders say the result is unlikely to change.