Senate to push forward on trade bill stalled in the House

Senate Democratic leaders still hope to hold votes on two expiring trade bills this week, according to a Senate aide.


A Democratic aide close to the process indicated Wednesday that Democratic leaders still believe they can reach a deal with the House to extend the programs, which are set to expire Sunday.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to have the Senate agree by unanimous consent on Thursday to extend legislation offering assistance to workers hurt by increased trade. The Trade Adjustment Assistance bill has been combined with another trade bill extending trade preferences to Andean nations.


The problem is that House Republicans, who on Tuesday postponed a vote to extend the legislation,  argue the Obama administration has not shown enough commitment to advancing the U.S. trade agenda.


Republicans want the administration to send trade deals with Colombia and Panama to Congress for their consideration. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Wednesday told the House Ways and Means Committee that Obama had told him to intensify engagement with those two countries so that the deals could be completed.