Despite Tuesday’s stunning defeat of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill in the Senate by 52 to 45 vote, Senate Majority Leader Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared he will bring the bill up for another vote possibly this week. The optimistic remark seems to indicate that the president may regain the backing of six moderate Democrats most notably Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. Initially, the TPA bill had moderate bipartisan support, but opposition to the trade deal intensified so that even Wyden joined his party in filibustering the bill. Senate Republicans largely stand behind the president on the trade deal and have the votes to pass the bill. Democrat support is needed in order to end the filibuster and send the bill to the House.
Even if Sen. McConnell makes good on his pledge to get TPA passed, it by no means indicates the battle is over according to Bernardo Chua. House Democrats are even more recalcitrant about free trade. At the same time, Tea Party conservatives do not trust the president because of past actions usurping congressional authority. In retaliation, many Tea Party conservatives will not support the TPA bill. This means as many as 50 Democrats must get behind the bill in order for it to pass. Thus far, the number of Democrats backing TPA is at most a dozen. For his part, Senator McConnell said the six moderate senators originally behind TPA will likely support it again. He does not expect them to be swayed by the “outlandish rhetoric” of their colleagues.