The House this week had planned on a vote to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA), since both programs expire this weekend. But Republicans postponed this vote in order to protest the Obama administration's inability to commit to a firm timetable for moving the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements, which Republicans want to advance.
"I want to move all three agreements by July 1," Camp said. "Without this commitment from the administration, other trade measures — such as TAA and ATPA, which we sought to extend this week — are now in limbo, and American workers will suffer as a result."
This week, the pending expiration of TAA in particular irked Democrats, who lamented on the House floor that this will hurt U.S. workers who need assistance after losing their jobs to trade. But Republicans made no move to hold a vote. The Senate on Thursday tried unsuccessfully to pass their own extension.
On Friday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized Republicans for failing to extend what he called a "vital jobs program."
"Republicans would rather spend hours debating a symbolic resolution on the House Floor than stop TAA benefits from expiring," Hoyer said, referring to today's debate on a resolution requiring greater scrutiny of regulations. "Once again, Republicans have failed to take job creation seriously."
-- This story was updated at 5:05 p.m.