The House is trying again to move President Obama's trade agenda forward after rejecting it last week. It passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Thursday over the opposition of many Democrats.
The vote of 218-208 was largely along party lines, winning the support of just 28 Democrats. The measure would give Congress a yes or no vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but no chance to amend it."Fast-track" authority is intended to make negotiations easier for the administration and speed up passage of the trade bill.
The House is expected to take a vote later on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a program which would aid workers who lost their jobs as a result of trade deals.
The TPA legislation must now be returned to the Senate for a vote. While the Senate has already passed the trade legislation once, its version included both TPA and TAA. Should the Senate pass the House standalone TPA bill, the House will bring up its TAA bill. House leaders hope that Democrats will be convinced to support worker protections if they know that the trade bill will move forward with or without them. The bill that Democrats rejected last week linked TAA's passage to TPA's, so their vote against TAA killed the overall bill.
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It is unclear whether TPA will have enough support from Democrats in the Senate to withstand a filibuster now that it is a standalone bill.
Because many Republicans do not support the TAA program, it will likely only pass with Democratic support. In an rare role reversal, Republicans are working with Mr. Obama to pass the trade deal over the objections of Democrats.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, released a statement Wednesday saying they are committed to seeing the passage of both bills.
"We are committed to ensuring both TPA and TAA get votes in the House and Senate and are sent to the President for signature," the leaders said. They also promised to work on another trade-related bill dealing with customs so it would make it to the president's desk.
Mr. Obama, for his part, is only expected to sign the fast-track legislation into law if it includes the worker protections. When asked if the president would be willing to take half the loaf, even if it's the half he wants, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the answer is no.
The president has been working to build support for the trade bill among members of his own party after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, led the revolt against TPA last week. Mr. Obama met with pro-trade Democrats from the House and Senate Wednesday and one member who attended the gathering, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, told reporters at the White House that the president had a quiet confidence that the new legislative path for the measure would prevail.
CBS News Associate Producer Walt Cronkite contributed to this report.