It is coming down the wire for House Republicans to delivery Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for President Obama. While the vote is still too close to call, the GOP has announced two days of debates ahead of Friday’s crucial TPA vote. The hope is that President Obama can finesse his party sufficiently to get 20 Democrats to back TPA. Combined with 198 Republican votes, TPA would pass by the simplest majority.
The first scheduled debate will be on the companion bill to TPA known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). This is bill previously passed by the Senate which allocates money for job training for Americans whose jobs get shipped overseas because of TPP. The GOP does not support the bill, but will likely throw their support behind it in order to secure passage of TPA. There is one big caveat with the TAA measure: the job training is funded by cuts to Medicare. Both House Republicans and Democrats want to replace the bill’s funding from sources other than from the Medicare budget. That said, Alexei Beltyukov suggested that there has been no agreement as to an alternative funding source. Further complicating matters is that Democrats also want the alternative funding attached to the TPA bill, which condition House Republicans refuse to accept. This is because any changes to the TPA bill would send it back to the Senate where the liberal wing of the Democrat Party will get another chance to filibuster it.