House easily clears trade package
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The House on Thursday easily cleared a key piece of President Obama’s trade agenda that had created a crisis just two weeks ago.

In a 286-138 vote, the House approved a workers assistance program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that helps workers who lose their jobs because of increased trade.

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The program, which was combined with other trade measures, was approved with heavy support from Democrats. Only six Democrats voted no.

Two weeks ago, most House Democrats voted against the TAA bill because it had been combined with a measure to grant President Obama with fast-track authority, which makes it easier for the administration to finish a sweeping trade deal with Pacific Rim countries.

Democrats voted against the TAA bill to slow fast-track, but the White House and congressional Republicans responded by splitting the two measures.

Fast-track was approved on Wednesday by the Senate and is now headed to Obama’s desk. With no ability to stop that bill, Democrats opted to back the TAA bill.

The legislation also includes the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which extends trade preferences for certain African countries for another decade.

“What’s really happening here is a commitment is being honored the second time around to make sure that these bills have passed,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King House passes resolution condemning white nationalism Anti-Defamation League calls on House leaders to censure Steve King over white supremacy comments MORE (R-Wis.).

House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' On The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (Calif.) said she would support the TAA-AGOA bill even though she thinks the worker assistance program isn’t as robust as needed considering the size of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive Asia-Pacific trade agreement.

“I wish we had a better TAA, and I certainly do not want to vote against AGOA,” Pelosi said.