Buzzfeed is reporting that Senate Dems blocked the trade bill:
WASHINGTON — In one fell swoop Tuesday, Senate Democrats successfully blocked President Obama’s trade legislation and handed him one of his biggest defeats in recent memory.
Republicans are kvetching about Obama not being able to round up votes from his own party and Democrats throwing the president under the bus, but most of them support the bill, so that’s their self-serving spin. More:
Senate Democrats, however argued it’s not the presidents fault. “I don’t think it’s a reflection on the president … I think it’s just a difference if views” on trade, said Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Ben Cardin said after the vote.
Tuesday’s failed vote is a victory for unions, activists, and progressive lawmakers who have mounted an aggressive opposition campaign against the White House’s efforts to push through a “fast track” that would allow the president to negotiate trade deals and give Congress a simple up-or-down vote.
A CNN report on the issue quotes Senator Warren in an NPR interview this morning as follows:
“We cannot continue to run this country for the top 10 percent. We can’t keep pushing through trade deals that benefit multi-national companies at the expense of workers,” she said.
“Government cannot continue to be the captive of the rich and the powerful. Working people cannot be forced to give up more and more as they get squeezed harder and harder.”
Well, yeah. But it seems like deals that would benefit regular people typically have one shot at making it through Congress while measures that extend the influence of the wealthy get endless bites at the apple.
So is this really the end of it? Does anyone know what happens next? Aside from headlines about “Dems in Disarray,” I mean?
UPDATE: The NYT has a better explanation of what happened than Buzzfeed’s initial report (shocking!). An excerpt:
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats handed President Obama a stinging rebuke on Tuesday, blocking consideration of legislation granting their own president accelerated power to complete a major trade accord with Asia.
The Senate voted 52-45 on a procedural motion to begin debating the bill to give the president “trade promotion authority,” eight votes short of the 60 needed to proceed. Republicans and pro-trade Democrats said they would try to negotiate a trade package that could clear that threshold.
But the vote Tuesday presented Mr. Obama what might be a no-win situation. He may have to accept trade enforcement provisions he does not want in order to propel the trade legislation through the Senate, but those same provisions might doom the Pacific trade negotiations that legislation is supposed to lift.
Sounds like the fast-track provision has been defeated, but whether or not the trade bill ultimately comes up for a vote is an open question, according to the NYT. Fair traders can now force concessions from free traders, but that might doom the negotiations, says the linked article. We shall see.