WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats have dealt President Barack Obama a stinging setback on trade by blocking efforts to begin full-blown debate on his initiatives.
All but one Senate Democrat defied the president Tuesday by voting to prevent consideration of his request for “fast track” trade authority. Such authority would let Obama present trade agreements that Congress could ratify or reject, but not amend.
Proponents needed 60 votes to thwart a Democratic filibuster, but managed only 52 in the 100-member Senate.
Obama’s supporters say they will try again, possibly starting in the House. But Tuesday’s vote highlighted the deep divide between Obama and the many congressional Democrats who say trade deals hurt U.S. jobs.
Democrats said Republicans must put more trade measures into the legislative package.
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