Dems sink Obamatrade in House; mass defections from leadership in both parties

Dems sink Obamatrade in House; mass defections from leadership in both parties

[Ed. – Note that the practical, near-term effect is that “trade adjustment assistance” for American workers is now defunct.  No clear path to getting that reinstated now.  The secrecy was the killer here, and justifiably so.] 

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the final blow to Mr. Obama, taking to the floor to denounce the push for trade and saying she would kill a Democratic priority — extra assistance for workers displaced by trade agreements known as Trade Adjustment Assistance — in order to defeat the broader trade agenda.

“This is not a good deal,” she said.

A stunned White House called it a “procedural snafu” and promised to try again, and GOP leaders left the door open for a revote, but it will take a huge effort by Mr. Obama, who will need to switch votes of dozens of Democrats who defeated the trade assistance bill, 302-126.

That vote unraveled a package that was supposed to include the assistance bill, a separate measure stiffening enforcement of trade agreements and fast-track negotiating powers for Mr. Obama to complete trade agreements, which was the linchpin to the deal.

The worker assistance, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, was supposed to pass first on the strength of Democratic votes, clearing the way for the fast-track powers, known as Trade Promotion Authority, to pass on the strength of GOP votes.

And the TPA did gain a majority, scoring a 219-211 tally — but that vote was symbolic since the worker assistance package had already failed.

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