The president’s signature trade deal, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), dubbed Obamatrade by opponents, suffered a severe defeat late Friday when an overwhelming bipartisan coalition in the House voted to reject the deal.
GOP leadership had hoped the measure would be the special ingredient, specifically economic aid to American workers that would guarantee Democrat approval of TPA for President Obama.
In order to pass the TPA, the house needed to also approve Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a portion of the bill included in the Senate version of the bill. At the last minute, Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared her vehement opposition to TAA. She announced that voting down the TAA measure, though she supported it, was the surest way to defeat TPA.
Following suit, 144 fellow Democrats joined 158 Republicans in open opposition to President Obama and Speaker John Boehner.
On Sunday, Hillary Clinton pounced on the opportunity to join the Democrat majority in criticism of TPA, sealing off any possibility of earning back support among House Democrats for the president’s policy.
Reports later surfaced that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the major GOP driver for the trade bills, is crafting a new strategy in hopes of hammering out a compromise within the committee. This may revive the efforts to pass Obama’s trade package.