McConnell pushing Senate Dems to the wall on fast track bill – AmericanThinker


Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is through offering concessions to Democrats to make it easier for them to vote for the fast track trade authority the president is seeking. Instead, he will hold a vote on Tuesday that will force Democrats who have supported fast track in the past, to vote for it again – this time, without the sweetener of a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) amendment that would compensate workers hurt by any free trade deal with Asia.

The Hill:

The idea is that the TAA program will be added to a separate bill providing preferential access to the U.S. market for African countries. That legislation is supposed to move after the fast-track bill, and the hope is that House Democrats who rejected it the first time as a way to stop fast-track will support it if the fast-track bill is sailing into law.

Senate Democrats have balked at McConnell’s plan to consider the bills separately, and have demanded additional concessions.

So far, the protests have barely moved the GOP leader, who is offering them only one additional sweetener: a bipartisan measure sponsored by Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) that would empower the Commerce Department to take retaliatory action against foreign countries that violate trade rules. 

The Brown-Portman bill, which would help U.S. steel producers win anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports to the United States, has been added to the TAA package.

That’s a win Democrats who want tougher enforcement measures, and a win for Portman — a close ally of McConnell — who faces a tough-reelection next year in Ohio, a state with a large manufacturing sector that is vulnerable to foreign competition.

But it falls short of Democratic demands.

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