This might be why President Obama didn't seem overly concerned earlier this month when his bid for fast-track authority—seen as a major goal of his second term—seemed to be dead: It's not only not dead, it is now heading to the president's desk for his signature. The Senate today passed the measure by a vote of 60-38, thanks to some legislative maneuvering. The vote means that Obama has a much better chance of reaching a deal with other foreign leaders on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is opposed by many Democrats as a job-killer, reports the Hill. Because of fast-track, Congress will able to cast an up-or-down vote on the deal, but it won't be able to amend it.
“Achieving this positive outcome was never going to be easy, but it proves that the power of a good idea, no matter where it comes from, can win out over the stasis of gridlock,” says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who formed a rare alliance with Obama. The Senate is next expected to approve a companion measure called TAA that would provide help for Americans who lose their jobs because of the deal. TAA would then go to the House, and Nancy Pelosi greatly improved its chances by supporting it today, reports the Washington Post. Even if it fails, however, fast-track authority lives. Last time around, the two measures were linked, making it easier for Democrats to torpedo the entire thing.