Tags: Barack Obama | Harry Reid | Senate | trade agenda | fast-track | Mitch McConnell

Senate Fast-Track Trade Bill Overcomes Another Hurdle

By    |   Friday, 22 May 2015 09:27 AM

The Senate on Thursday took one step closer to giving President Barack Obama authority to cut a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, just a week after Democrats put the brakes on it, The Hill reported.

Sixty votes were needed to end debate and move to a final vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Obama teamed up to woo pro-trade Democrats to break ranks. They also called in an outside source, Beoing CEO Jim McNerney, to make the case to Democratic leaders and Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, who was a crucial swing vote.

McConnell also made last ditch efforts to convince a group of pro-trade Democrats to come on board.

Once the vote was underway, five Republicans had voted against McConnell and he needed at least six Democratic votes to reach 60. Ultimately, the breakthrough came when McConnell committed to schedule a vote next week on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, an issue Cantwell had been pushing for. Cantwell voted yes, bringing with her the group McConnell had been working on.

The vote went through by 62-38 clearing the way for a final vote that could come on Friday.

Meanwhile, as recently as last week, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had been asking the Democrats to block the fast-track bill but this time around he remained uncharacteristically silent.

"As the trade bill was on the brink of collapse, Reid sat silently at his desk on the Senate floor — not lifting a finger to either kill the bill or help the president of his own party," Politico said.

Reid said he "tried not to be an obstacle" to Obama's trade agenda, though he strongly opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the fast-track bill.

"I knew what the outcome's going to be for a long time," Reid told Politico. "In my caucus, we have a dozen people who have been pro-trade. That's why I've been very careful in trying to understand them, and of course the vast majority of Democrats who are against the trade bill. So I've tried not to be an obstacle to the bill passing."

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been staunchly opposed to the bill,

"He's managing the caucus the way he should," Warren said, according to Politico. "He's the kind of leader we need. He listens to all sides, and he stands up for what he believes in."

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The Senate on Thursday took one step closer to giving President Barack Obama authority to cut a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, just a week after Democrats put the brakes on it, The Hill reported.
Senate, trade agenda, fast-track, Mitch McConnell
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2015-27-22
Friday, 22 May 2015 09:27 AM
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