Today, the House of Representatives defeated a proposal considered necessary for the passing of the Trans Pacific Partnership’s Fast Track approval (TPA). The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) would have protected U.S. workers who would lose their jobs if the TPP was passed. Democrats easily voted down the TAA with a 126-302 vote, ignoring President Obama’s last minute appeals to vote it through. Because the Senate passed the TPA and TAA as a package, the TPA will not go to President Obama to be signed into law. House Democrats had lamented that the TAA essentially admitted that jobs would be lost due to the TPP, and showed their opposition through a “no” vote.
Nancy Pelosi broke her long silence on the TPP by speaking out against the contentious trade deal. In an address to the House, the minority speaker asserted that Fast Track would need to be defeated in order to better protect the American people. She, along with many Democrats, feels that American jobs are on the line and that the TPP does not do enough to protect citizens. Some Democrats have argued that the TAA in particular does not do enough to protect workers; others are voting against it as a way to defeat the TPP as a whole.
Another vote on the TAA will likely be held in a week; if enough minds can be changed, then the TPP may still have a chance of being pushed through. The Fast Track authority for the trade deal (TPA) did pass, though it was likely for show. Without TAA, it will likely be a long, slow road to get the Trans Pacific Partnership through Congress.