McConnell sets up first trade vote
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans MORE on Thursday teed up the Senate's first vote on fast-track trade legislation, setting up a test vote for one of the Kentucky Republican's top policy priorities. 

The Senate will take a procedural vote Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. to end debate on a motion to proceed to a House bill on tax exemptions, which the Senate will use as the legislative vehicle for fast-track. 


The legislation, which would block Congress from amending a trade pact the administration is negotiating with 11 Pacific Rim countries, is a rare area of agreement between McConnell and the Obama administration. 

But McConnell is facing some pushback within his own party over the legislation. 

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOne quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors Biden fills immigration court with Trump hires Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE suggested Thursday that he remains skeptical of the legislation, adding that he recently wrote a letter to President Obama on the subject. 

“We are going to agree in advance before we see the completed treaty, before it's made public, to allow this agreement to pass. ... I think that's a big ask for Congress,” he said. 

The Alabama Republican added that while he's supported fast-track legislation in the past, he believes “it's time for us to be a lot more careful” with trade agreements. 

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Biden's first 100 days is stylistic 'antithesis' of Trump The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' MORE (D-Nev.) threatened this week to block the trade legislation, though it’s unclear if he'll have enough votes to do so.

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block MORE (D-Ill.) told reporters that Democratic leadership is still talking to its members, particularly Democrats that support the trade legislation.  

The trade legislation has divided Democrats, including the leadership team. Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayBiden's pre-K plan is a bipartisan opportunity to serve the nation's children Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Wash.) broke with Reid and Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.), who is poised to be the next Democratic leader, by supporting the legislation.