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Trade Talk
Dems Deny Obama Fast-Track Authority

House Democrats resoundingly rejected Trade Promotion Authority for President Obama this afternoon by voting against an olive branch Obama and House Republicans had extended to the left: a worker-aid program meant to help American workers displaced by overseas outsourcing.

With the worker-aid measure no longer included, it is unlikely that many Democrats will vote to give President Obama TPA. The vote represents a major defeat for Obama’s trade agenda. Though the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not dead yet, it is suffering. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Supporters of the fast-track bill will enter the next vote with new ammunition: the House voted 219-211 in favor of the part of the fast-track bill that would give Mr. Obama the power to submit trade accords to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments.

But the action didn’t reverse the chamber’s earlier rejection of the workers-aid bill, and under a rule established by leaders for the debate, both portions of the bill needed to pass in order for the whole thing to be sent to Mr. Obama for his signature.”

The uncertain status of the trade bill is only the last in a long line of foreign policy defeats for a man who was once reverently compared to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. The most liberal President the United States has ever had is currently on course to be its least strategically accomplished one, too.

Perhaps a last-minute breakthrough will salvage Trade Promotion Authority of some sort for the President, but even if that happens, it will be on terms much friendlier to the union-backed left. Things do not look good for Team Obama.

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  • Angel Martin

    the icing on the cake in this fiasco had to be Obama’s inept last minute pitch on TAA. From the Huffington Post:

    “But the president’s 11th-hour pitch may have backfired. Some of the Democrats leaving the meeting said Obama promptly insulted their integrity, took no questions and left.”

    • Boritz

      LBJ is looking down from Great Society heaven and shaking his head at the lack of adept vote whipping and accomplished politickin’.

      • Josephbleau

        Or looking up from somewhere else.

  • Fat_Man

    Good. I am not a Wilsonian, but the 14 points of Woodrow Wilson had some excellent ideas. Point 1 was: “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no
    private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed
    always frankly and in the public view.” I find the secrecy of this thing appalling and off putting. If this deal is so good, it should be opened to the American people. If it is not opened, it should be rejected, even if it is good.

  • FriendlyGoat

    I get it that some of the Democrats did not want this two-bill deal sailing right through. I don’t get it that the Democrats are singly responsible for killing it from the worker-aid-measure side, seeing as how the GOP has a large majority in the House.

  • Arkeygeezer

    “The most liberal President the United States has ever had is currently on course to be its least strategically accomplished one, too”

    President Obama has a basic problem. Nobody trusts him! This comes from a long string of lies, a multitude of failures, and a continual habit of blaming others for his own shortcomings. This lack of trust extends to enemies and allies alike, foreign and domestic.

    • JR

      I think the Huff Post quote below really just sums it up. Obama is no longer even a nominal leader of his party, so it’s a tricky time for all involved. In age of Internet, tacking hard one way or the other kind of makes it hard to ever go back. Interesting times.

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