June 16, 2015
A procedural vote in the House June 12 blocked President Barack Obama’s bid to win fast-track authority for the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. By a 302-126 vote, the House defeated a bill to give federal aid to retrain workers who lose their jobs as a result of the deal, thus preventing the passage of a package of measures that included fast-track.
The House did leave the door open to reintroduce the package, which was approved by the Senate last month. Speaker John Boehner also lobbied hard for the package, but a coalition of Democrats and Republicans voted no. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said he’d found the TPP’s labor protections too vague. “It says words to the effect that the parties shall endeavor to engage in an agreement to protect labor rights and things like that,” Lynch told the Boston Globe, “but there is no hard and fast and forcible language that would protect workers or the environment of those countries.” Another Massachusetts Democrat, Seth Moulton, announced his decision to vote no after union members rallied outside his district office and met with his staff June 11. Read More