President Barack Obama and House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) suffered blows to their credibility on Friday, as more than 300 members on a bipartisan basis rejected their attempt to push the Obamatrade agenda.
After a blistering House floor speech from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—who took what the Drudge Report called a “brave stand for America” against Obamatrade—the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) portion of Obamatrade failed in the House by a vote of 302-126. Not only was this a major rebuke of Obama by Democrats, it was also a major rebuke of Ryan and House GOP leadership by Republican rank-and-file members.
Right after Ryan and Obama—respectively representative of the establishments of the Republican and Democratic parties—were delivered this historic rebuke by their own rank-and-file, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy moved forward with another egregious move. They held what will almost certainly end up being a purely symbolic vote in favor of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)—which depends on TAA for final passage—which passed 219-211.
House GOP leadership seems to think it will hold another vote on TAA next week, but it’s highly unlikely that enough members from either party would change their votes to support TAA—especially enough Republicans, since TAA is a big government Democratic program—so Obamatrade is technically, not entirely, dead yet. If leadership can’t find the votes for TAA next week, that is when it would officially be dead.
“It would appear that reports of Obamatrade’s demise were premature,” Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government, said in an email. “We remain confident that at the end of the day, fast track trade authority will never be granted to this president.”
That being said, there’s always a possibility that Congressional leadership—which seems dead-set on passing this against the wishes of their constituents—could engage in some other kind of chicanery with a conference between the House and Senate and conservatives nationwide and throughout the Capitol are on high alert now for trickery from Ryan and company.