The U.S. Senate advanced a measure allowing President Barack Obama to expedite approval of trade agreements, a bill with bipartisan support in that chamber that may run into strong opposition from House Democrats.
The 65-33 vote Thursday followed separate votes sought by Democrats to pass proposals curbing currency manipulation and boosting imports from sub-Saharan Africa. The Senate plans to consider amendments to the fast-track trade proposal next week.
A rebellion Tuesday among Senate Democrats seeking the currency provision previews what may be fiercer battle ahead between Democrats and House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican.
“There’s a broad feeling we have to do something against China” on currency manipulation, New York Senator Charles Schumer, the chamber’s third-ranking Democrat, told reporters before the vote on advancing the trade bill. He called the currency measure “a shot across China’s bow that we’re not going to just sit there and do nothing.”
The fast-track bill would allow Obama to submit trade agreements to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. He hopes to complete a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and send it for fast-track approval.
So after all the "name calling" and the fighting and the "Democrats in disarray" and the "Obama suffers stinging rebuke" fast track authority passed. There will be amendments, and sure, the deal could still die in the House or in negotiations, especially with the currency manipulation provision, should it pass.
But 48 hours ago, it was "Senator Warren stops Obama's bad trade deal!"
No, she didn't.
President Obama wins, and nobody cares.
Funny how this works, huh?