House votes to extend trade fight into July

The House easily passed a measure on Tuesday to give lawmakers through the end of July to figure out how to pass President Obama’s trade agenda.

The extension, attached onto a “rule” establishing parameters for floor debate on an unrelated intelligence authorization bill, sailed through on a vote of 236-189.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) set up a process last week allowing the House to conduct a do-over of the failed vote on aid for workers displaced by trade deals, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Under House rules, the chamber would have had to vote again by Tuesday absent an extension.

{mosads}The House can now vote again on trade anytime through July 30 under the current extension. Congress is expected to be in recess throughout the entire month of August.

Unlike last week, the latest House procedural vote on trade passed easily with only six conservatives voting against it. Three Democrats voted for the rule in a departure from what is usually a partisan roll call: Reps. Brad Ashford (Neb.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.) and Jim Costa (Calif.).

The six Republicans in opposition to Tuesday’s rule were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Walter Jones (N.C.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Bill Posey (Fla.). 

The rule setting up floor debate for the trade package last week nearly derailed after 34 Republicans, mostly conservatives unhappy with the way the bills were structured. It established separate votes on the job aid bill as well as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), giving Obama fast-track powers. Eight pro-trade Democrats ultimately crossed party lines to save the measure.

Votes on rules are tests of party discipline. Even members of the minority party who support the underlying legislation usually vote against the rule.

Tags Boehner John Boehner Justin Amash Louie Gohmert Mo Brooks

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