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Without Worker Protections, Fast-Track All But Passed

Despite killing a measure to grant assistance to American workers adversely effected by trade, the House of Representatives passed a bill granting the president unilateral trade authority.

The House passed fast-track by a vote of 219-211. Fast-track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), has created a divide between the president and many on the left. With such authority the president could submitted a finalized trade deal to Congress that could not be amended or filibustered and would only need a straight up or down vote. Originally the measure was only going to go up for a vote if members voted to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

The program is designed to help workers negatively impacted by international trade by providing job training and wage supplements for some workers. Despite Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi successfully derailing TAA, however, members decided to approve fast-track anyways.

“While I’m a big supporter of TAA, if TAA slows down the Fast Track, I am to vote—I am prepared to vote against TAA because its defeat, sad to say is the only way to slow down fast track,” Pelosi said in the House floor. “Now I understand there will be manipulations here one way or another—what bill comes first—what can come up—what can’t, but the fact is this. The facts are these, actually, that the —if TAA fails the fast track bill is stopped.”

Without TAA, however, the measure does not matched the one passed by the Senate back in May and therefore will still face a few more hurdles. The House and Senate could go to conference to come up with a matching measure or the House can bring TAA back up for another vote.

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