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Senate Reaches Deal on Obama Trade Effort

A day after Senate Democrats put the brakes on an Obama-backed trade bill, Senate leaders announced a deal to move forward with the fast-track trade effort.

The deal reached by negotiators will have the Senate first voting on standalone bills dealing with currency manipulation and Africa, then move to the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) — legislation to assist displaced workers — and the Trade Promotion Authority fast-track bill.

“The plan I’m about to offer will follow the regular order on the trade bill, while also allowing Senators the opportunity to take votes on the customs and preferences bills – in a way that will not imperil the increased American exports and American trade jobs that we need,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor.

“We would then turn to the trade bill with TPA and TAA as the base bill, and open the floor to amendments as I’ve suggested all week. It’s reasonable,” he added.

The deal comes less than a day after Senate Democrats blocked debate on the trade package Tuesday.

Democratic Leader Harry Reid — who Tuesday was demanding all four bills be combined into one trade package — said, “I think we’ve come up with something that’s fair.”

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