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 RyanZaid Jilani: Paul Ryan worried about culture war distracting from issues 'that really concern him' The Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment's lack of power The Hill's 12:30 Report - Senators back in session after late-night hold-up MORE (R-Wis.).

House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVaccinated lawmakers no longer required to wear masks on House floor Simmering Democratic tensions show signs of boiling over Pelosi signals no further action against Omar 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.