Republican senators on Monday blocked a Democratic push to increase funding for the trade adjustment assistance (TAA) program.
Senators voted 45-41 on the amendment from Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownAdvocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees Wyden releases new tax proposals as Democrats work on .5T bill MORE (D-Ohio). The measure needed 60 votes to get attached to “fast-track” trade legislation.
Brown wanted to increase funding for TAA to approximately $575 million.
He suggested ahead of the vote that senators “owe” the extra funding to any American who loses their job as a result of the Senate passing fast-track, which would allow the president to get trade deals approved by Congress with a simple majority vote, and also block lawmakers from amending the trade deals.
“We owe it to workers who are going to have their lives upended through no fault of their own to do everything we can to ease the transition,” Brown said. “We owe it to provide training and assistance to help those communities, to help those workers get back on their feet.”
The legislation currently provides $450 million for TAA, but Brown said that “likely won't be enough.”
Separately, the Senate approved in a 92-0 vote an amendment from Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) that would require the United States to weigh a country's religious tolerance when negotiating trade deals.
The two amendments were the first of nearly 90 amendments that have been filed to the trade bill.
Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchCongress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 MORE (R-Utah) told reporters after the vote that he had been working with Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWant a clean energy future? Look to the tax code Democrats brace for toughest stretch yet with Biden agenda Lawmakers lay out arguments for boosting clean energy through infrastructure MORE (D-Ore.) on a way to handle the amendments.
“Well I think we're close,” he said when asked about a potential agreement.
But asked about what the two had agreed to, Hatch laughed before adding: “That's the greatness of this place, all of us are in suspense.”