Senate Gives Obama His 60 Votes

Fast-track trade measure will almost certainly pass tomorrow
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2015 11:02 AM CDT
Senate Gives Obama His 60 Votes
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks off stage after speaking at the Road to Majority 2015 convention in Washington, Friday, June 19, 2015.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama's trade agenda lives to fight another day. The Senate this morning handed him the 60 votes he needed, voting 60-37 to end debate on his request for fast-track negotiating authority. It'll vote on final passage for fast-track tomorrow, which the New York Times sees as "virtually ensured" as final passage needs just 51 votes. As earlier reported, 14 Democratic senators backed fast track in a late May vote, and 13 did so today.

The timeline, per the Hill: After the fast-track vote, the Senate will vote on a package that includes Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)—a measure that would provide job training and other help to people who lose their jobs because of the trade deal. Democrats have insisted TAA be paired with the fast track; some on the other side of the aisle oppose it. The House will then need to vote on it, and both Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have pledged to make TAA law. As Politico puts it, today's vote "came as Democrats wavered on whether to trust" them to do so. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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