-- President Obama's proposed trade deal faced its first test in the Senate today, with a critical vote on whether to move forward on legislation giving President Obama "fast-track" authority to make trade deals.
But in an odd twist, most Republicans favor it while Senate Democrats are in full revolt against it. This fast-track authority paves the way for a massive 12-nation trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Senate Democrats filibustered today to block the motion to proceed on the president's trade deal with a vote of 52-45, falling eight votes shy of the 60 votes needed.
The problem? Senate Democrats demand that all four proposed trade bills -- fast-track, along with Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a customs enforcement bill and a trade package for African countries -- be included in a single bill before the Senate even considers opening up a debate on the legislation.
"There's a large feeling in our caucus that we want all those four put together before we move forward," Schumer said last week.
This is one of those rare moments where Senate Republicans are aligned with President Obama on an issue while many of his loyal Democrats oppose his free-trade deal.
"We have cooperated with Republicans. We still want to do that," Reid said on the Senate floor today. "I have been very clear. I am not a fan of fast-track, but it is important to remember that the Senate's ongoing debate about trade is not limited to legislation granting President Obama fast-track trade authority."