House Kills Trade Adjustment Assistance–and Probably Fast-Track

So to the surprise of many observers, House Democrats prioritized defeating Trade Promotion Authority over preserving Trade Adjustment Assistance, and by combining with conservative Republicans to kill the latter unraveled the Senate deal that passed the former. That’s the most succinct description I can think of to describe what happened on the House floor this afternoon.

The only actual roll-call count I’ve seen is the 302-136 vote against TAA, with no partisan breakdowns just yet. The House subsequently passed a free-standing TPA measure–no roll-call tally on that one yet–but it would have to be passed again by the Senate because it lacks the TAA lubricant, and it’s generally thought that would be unlikely.

If that’s the way the whole TPP saga ends, then the happiest person in politics may be Hillary Clinton, who can now (a) evade pressure to take a position on the agreement, and (b) make a pledge, if she wishes, to negotiate some kind of pan-Asian deal that’s more congenial to Democratic constituency groups and to liberal economists, if there’s any such thing.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.