This bus is part of the grassroots Backbone Campaign-organized Rolling Rebellion against fast-track legislation.
The original plan in the wake of the defeat of a worker-aid bill that put fast-track trade legislation on hold Friday was to run a revote today. But on Monday it became clear that President Obama, pro-trade Democrats and the Republican leadership in the House weren't going to be able to come up with a means of immediately switching more than 90 House votes from no to yes and reversing the embarrassing loss to the president at the hands of his own party.
Here's Kelsey snell at The Washington Post:
But in interviews Monday with several Hill Democrats who opposed the deal but might vote for it under some conditions, they said they hadn’t changed their minds. Nor did the White House or pro-trade advocates spend the weekend aggressively whipping behind their efforts, according to several senior democratic aides.
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders met in a closed-door session on Monday night to discuss their strategy at which point [Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi—who ultimately opposed the key vote after publicly wavering—said that the 144 Democrats who voted “no” on Friday were not going to change their minds in one weekend. Pelosi aides said she told her fellow party leaders that she remains open to discussing trade, but a second vote this week would not get them to yes.
An immediate revote, therefore, was ruled out. This doesn't mean fast-track legislation is finished, but it's definitely treading water as backers scurry about seeking a means to keep it from sinking altogether. On Monday evening, as Cristina Marcos and Scott Wong at The Hill report
, the House Rules Committee attached a provision to an unrelated bill to extend the window for revoting until July 30. Boehner proposes to hold a vote on that today.
If the extension passes, and not everyone believes it will, it would give Obama and other fast-track backers a bit more than six weeks to figure out how they can flip Friday's lopsided 302-126 margin against reauthorizating the four-decade-old worker-aid program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).
Read below the orange barrier about where fast-track legislation may be headed.
Fast-track legislation, known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), passed the House Friday. But the way the Republican leadership has structured the rule for voting on these trade measures, TAA must also pass before Congress can send the TPA bill to the White House for the president's signature. TPA would give Congress the chance to vote any trade agreement up or down, but with no amendments and no filibuster.
The administration and other fast-track backers argue that, without TPA, other countries would not be willing to sign off on agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Neither that claim nor the administration's firm assertions that TPP is the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiatied persuaded an array of labor, environmental and other grassroots organizations to withdraw their vigorous campaign to derail fast-tracking last week. There's zero evidence anything has changed in that regard. And none that the victors are resting on their laurels.
Many options have been floated about how to proceed. All of them are deeply flawed. Jake Sherman at Politico reports:
Pro-trade Democrats, including those close to the White House, would like to see Speaker John Boehner hold one vote on TAA and fast-track authority. Boehner (R-Ohio) split the vote last week, to give Republicans a chance to vote for fast-track authority, and Democrats a chance to vote for TAA. Since that failed, Democrats believe Boehner should put it back together, the theory being pro-trade Republicans and Democrats would vote for the legislation and send it to Obama’s desk.
But top House Republicans say there is no way that bill can pass the chamber, since scores of GOP lawmakers would dissent, due to objections to TAA.
Carl Hulse qnd Gardiner Harris at The New York Times wrote
The political dynamic became more complicated over the weekend when Hillary Rodham Clinton, the party’s leading presidential contender, expressed support for Ms. Pelosi’s efforts to try to make any future trade deal more palatable to Democrats. Her statements could have provided lawmakers, already rallied by organized labor, more incentive to stand against giving the president added trade-negotiating authority.
Another option would be for Republicans to try to persuade members of their own party, most of whom traditionally oppose such worker assistance, to vote for it in the interests of reaching their larger trade goal. But that would require about 90 Republicans switching sides, an unlikely development, and leadership aides were skeptical of that approach.
While the head-scratching in the House continues, the AFL-CIO is thanking lawmakers who voted against TAA by buying ads
featuring individual members. These will run on Facebook, in the on-line version of The Hill and in print in the representatives' districts. Some representatives who voted for the TAA legislation can expect a rather different kind of AFL-CIO ad when they campaign for re-election in 2016.