Senate To Take One More Procedural Vote on Trade

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With a planned Memorial Day recess coming up, the U.S. Senate is meeting today to deal with several issues. It will consider legislation involving the National Security Agency and highway funding, which could run out at the end of the month unless Senators approve a House-passed extension.

But the big news  is on Obamatrade, where Senators have one more chance to block one of the president’s signature initiatives.

This is a cloture vote, so would require 60 or more senators to approve it. Thursday’s tally on a similar procedural vote was 62 pro votes, but the Senate only reached that after some backroom wheeling and dealing. For example, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised some wavering Democrats a vote on the Export-Import Bank if they’d support moving forward on trade.

McConnell is also holding the holiday over the heads of senators. The Senate could finish business as early as Friday afternoon, he promised at the beginning  of the day’s session. The unspoken threat is that he may hold senators over into the weekend, eating into their planned vacation time. Senators had planned to be off until early June.

The bill is expected to clear the 60-vote hurdle, but it’s worth watching the vote, just in case.