Tags: boehner | house | republicans | trade agenda

Boehner, House Republicans Working to Resurrect Trade Bill

Image: Boehner, House Republicans Working to Resurrect Trade Bill
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By    |   Monday, 15 Jun 2015 10:39 PM

Handed an embarrassing defeat by Democrats who smacked down his fast-track trade bill, President Barack Obama has turned to House Speaker John Boehner to resurrect the measure.

Obama and House Speaker John Boehner spoke by phone on Monday, and although neither camp would reveal details of the conversation, The Washington Post is reporting that Boehner is seeking the ability to revive the bill at some point over the next 60 days. The president and speaker also agreed to abandoned an effort to bring the measure up for a vote on Tuesday.

Boehner's conversation with Obama was among several steps by House Republicans to revive the bill squashed last week by Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, The New York Times reports.

The bill would have given Obama power to approve trade deals without amendments. The bill also would make it easier to bring other nations into the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

But Democrats, bolstered by labor unions, reversed support for a measure that would aid American workers who lost their jobs because of a trade deal. The party has for decades supported just such a rule.

Republicans are now looking at other options, including bringing more in their own party on board. But that could be a hard sell, since Republicans have traditionally opposed the aid for workers, and they would have to convince about 90 of them to switch sides, the Times noted.

Another idea is to pass the fast-track legislation by itself, but Democrats have indicated they'll prevent that.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough talked to Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The bill already has passed the Senate, leaving the House the only impediment to passage. By rule, the bill was supposed to have been taken up again by Tuesday, but the House Rules Committee voted on Monday to give the chamber until July 30 to try to pass the bill.

One reason for the hurry is the upcoming presidential election season, during which is it difficult to pass legislation.

"It would be very difficult to do that," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, told the Journal. "If we are going to open markets, it’s very important for us to support those workers who might get displaced as part of that."

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House Republican leaders are seeking more time to rescue President Barack Obama's trade agenda.
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Monday, 15 Jun 2015 10:39 PM
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