Senate Dems Strike Blow to Obama in Trade Vote

President doesn't get votes needed to move forward on Trans-Pacific Partnership
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2015 4:55 PM CDT
Senate Dems Strike Blow to Obama in Trade Vote
President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Monday, May 11, 2015, recognizing emerging global entrepreneurs.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Senate Democrats have struck down a measure that would have helped President Obama settle a trade pact with Asian countries, the New York Times reports. Sixty votes were needed to pass a measure to launch debate on Obama's "trade promotion authority"—but it was blocked thanks to a 52-45 vote. Democrats are calling for additional measures before they'll provide such authority as Obama pushes for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Senators in his party want to address currency manipulation, child labor laws, and the possibility of job losses, among other concerns, before the trade deal is agreed, the Times notes.

"We can't keep pushing through trade deals that benefit multinational companies at the expense of workers," Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren told NPR this morning, as CNN notes. Among those who opposed the measure was Democratic co-sponsor Ron Wyden of Oregon. Majority leader Mitch McConnell called the vote "shocking": "What we've just witnessed here is the Democratic Senate shut down the opportunity to debate the top economic priority of the Democratic president of the United States." Obama could now be stuck between a rock and a hard place: He might have to accept Democrats' provisions to pass the measure—but doing so could spell disaster for the trade negotiations themselves, the Times reports. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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