While we all cheered the failure to pass Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) in the hope that its defeat would stop Fast Track, the House quickly voted to pass Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with 219 votes (218 is a majority but there were some abstentions). This situation means that the House and Senate have not passed identical versions of Fast Track (because the Senate version includes TAA) so Fast Track cannot go to the President’s desk yet to be signed into law. There are several possible scenarios ahead that leave the outcome of the fight against Fast Track uncertain.
While much of the media described today’s votes as a complete victory for those who oppose Fast Track and the Obama trade agenda, the fact is that we have some difficult challenges ahead. We won an important battle, and it was a tremendous victory especially when it is considered that President Obama did all he could including a special trip to the Congress for a private meeting with the Democratic leadership and the entire Democratic Caucus.
But, it is not over. Speaker Boehner called for reconsideration of TAA and a re-vote is supposed to happen within two legislative days so there may be another vote as early as Monday afternoon. We need to hold the line on TAA to prevent any form of TAA from passing the House and prepare for a vote in the Senate if a new form of TAA passes or if the TPA bill passed in the House goes back to the Senate without TAA.
Possibilities in the House
Since we won by a large majority on TAA in the House with a vote tally of 302 to 126 (76 vote difference), it is unlikely (but not impossible) that the current form of TAA would pass in a re-vote. No doubt this weekend President Obama is working over time to convince Democrats to change their vote and Majority Leader Boehner is looking for Republicans willing to go against their views and vote for TAA.